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


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

 

What is with peoples hatred of the Harbinger of Justice?

 

I've never seen the write-up, I've just read peoples complaints about him on the message boards. And after reading the complaints, I can't see what the big deal is.

 

He's just a bad-ass NPC. A character for the players to fear and not get in his way.

I don't see how having one character write-up, that'll take up 2 pages (at most) of book space, needs this kind of constant harping and complaining. Get over it, people.

 

The problem for me was that he was originally in the example character section of the book, not the bad-ass NPC section of the book...

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

 

I agree that having a gun pointed at you is a scary thing. I suggest you think hard though as to what is the cause behind the fear. I think that you might want to take a look at the person wielding the gun.

 

snip

 

No, I don't think the gun should have a PRE stat. People using guns kill people not the guns themselves. Most people, I believe, just seeing a gun on the table would not be scared of the gun.

 

I agree the gun shouldn't have a PRE stat but I wouldn't be against some guns having a PRE Mod, a .25 pocket pistol certainly doesn't have the intimidation factor of say a 10" barrel .500 S&W Magnum Revolver where the pointee can visually see that the gun is loaded with hollowpoints and their name actually is inscribed on the tip of the chambered bullet. Another example is the pump shotgun, supposedly many a police officer has ended a tense situation simply by chambering a round with the rather distinctive CHUK-CHUK sound that accompanies it and ordering the suspect out into the open and onto the ground.

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Realistic Body Armor Rules

 

I'd like to see a realistic treatment of Body Armor.

 

How much protection can you get and still keep it concealed?

 

Cover the advantages that hard armor (trauma plates) have over soft body armor. For instance, shoot a guy in the chest with a 12-guage at close range. If he's got a trauma plate on he'll get tossed back pretty good but he'll most likely survive. If the same guy is wearing only soft armor, none of the pellets may penetrate but he's probably going to get his chest caved in due to the shear impact in at a single point.

 

A teflon-coated round may be better at penetrating soft armor, but it won't help much against an armor plate.

 

Heavy armor is generally uncomfortable and traps body heat, all of this should be an added distraction for a person trying to hit a target, hear a noise or use certain skills.

 

I hope there will be some good rules for preventing potential player abuse of armor. I once had a character argue (unsucessfully) that he ought to be able to wear a full EOD suit in a normal fire-fight since he was so strong it didn't really encumber him (according the the encumberance rules). Fortunately my players have matured since that incident.

 

Most soft body armor is good against bullets but should not offer much protection against baseball bats, knives, falling damage, etc.

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Brownie Points

 

Anybody remember the old brownie point system? I'd like to see their return, they are great for agent games. A useful plot devise to keep the player on mission and a good reward system, other than EPs, that encourage good role-playing.

 

I've got a copy of the Brownie Point system in Word format. I think they were originally done by Shelley Mactyre.

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

 

Something else just occurred to me...

 

In many ways, Dark Champions is the "un-Champions" of the Hero line. In Champions, everything's about Powers -- shooting bolts of energy, lifting automobiles, flying at incredible speeds -- and so Characteristics are high and Skills are highly generalized.

 

Plenty's already been said on this thread about de-generalizing and focusing Skills. But about Characteristics....

 

Each of the eight Primary Characteristics should be broken down so that every single point can make a difference. BODY is already pretty smooth (BODY Rolls are rare and nothing else divides) and DEX has /3 and /5 for breakpoint figuring, so these two Characteristics won't need much attention in this area. Increased Damage Differentiation can be brought in from TUB, not just for STR but also for PRE (and possibly for other Characteristics as well). For INT, maybe some of the things that use INT/5 can do away with rounding so 0 and 5 are as good as 3 and 8 for breakpoints. I'm not sure what could be done with CON or EGO (the latter only becomes a concern because DC will rarely have Mental Powers), but the folks around here are pretty creative and can probably come up with a suggestion or two.

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

 

It's not Hero, but...

 

One thing I've been playing with in my campaign to make skills more distinct is to make low skill rolls cheaper and high skill rolls more expensive. In Champions, there can be a real problem with lots of players clustering around DEX 23 and 14- for Breakfall or some similar breakpoint.

 

I decided to give out lots of free 'everyman' skills, personalized for the character's background job. Just about any 8- roll that fit the character's background came for free. After that, it cost 2 points for 11- (and no levels add), and 3 points for 9 + (CHAR/10) - (levels can add).

 

It's not standard Hero (and would invalidate so many character sheets that DOJ could never publish it as even a 'suggested rule variant'), but it does have the effect of making a 14- skill roll rare and impressive. Omnibus or encyclopedic knowledge becomes quite expensive even with the appropriate modifiers.

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

 

Something else just occurred to me...

 

In many ways, Dark Champions is the "un-Champions" of the Hero line. In Champions, everything's about Powers -- shooting bolts of energy, lifting automobiles, flying at incredible speeds -- and so Characteristics are high and Skills are highly generalized.

 

Not meaning to start controversy. But this train of thought is becoming extremely disturbing to me. Dark Champs has always been the extremely low end of supers. The guys with minor abilities that cannot stand up to the world shakers or the normals with extraordinary abilities. Danger International (Espionage) was the game that reflected "normals only". The Punisher, Vigilante, Nick Fury, and yes, The Shadow and the Phantom are all DC's. Though the Shadow and crew are definitely Pulp, their concepts can easily be plugged right into DC. I guess my point is that even though there should be a solid "real world" element in DC, it is still about the greater than normal.

 

Spence

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

 

I would think this can be taken care of with the Presence Attack modifiers.

 

I agree the gun shouldn't have a PRE stat but I wouldn't be against some guns having a PRE Mod' date=' a .25 pocket pistol certainly doesn't have the intimidation factor of say a 10" barrel .500 S&W Magnum Revolver where the pointee can visually see that the gun is loaded with hollowpoints [/quote']
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Re: DARK CHAMPIONS: What Do *You* Want To See?

 

Not meaning to start controversy. But this train of thought is becoming extremely disturbing to me. Dark Champs has always been the extremely low end of supers. The guys with minor abilities that cannot stand up to the world shakers or the normals with extraordinary abilities. Danger International (Espionage) was the game that reflected "normals only". The Punisher' date=' Vigilante, Nick Fury, and yes, The Shadow and the Phantom are all DC's. Though the Shadow and crew are definitely Pulp, their concepts can easily be plugged right into DC. I guess my point is that even though there should be a solid "real world" element in DC, it is still about the greater than normal.[/quote'] Well, first, what Dark Champions has been (in its 4th-Ed incarnation) is a matter for another thread -- specifically, the one about whether this book should even be called Dark Champions. The old book was about low-power, street-level supers; this new one is about action heroes.

 

Yes, this would (or at least could) include Nick Fury, as well as James Bond, the A-Team, the Equalizer, and a variety of others. But it's still, from what I gather from Steve, mainly about normal (albeit highly gifted and well-trained) human beings in a normal world.

 

The amazing "super-Skills" are certainly a part of that; I've contributed dozens of ideas in the thread on that topic, and I look forward to seeing many if not most of them implemented in the book. The genre just wouldn't be what it is without Q's uncanny ability to foresee James Bond's needs, or James' ability to operate practically any vehicle he touches.

 

But these are still people in the Characteristics range of 10-20, with anything above 20 being rare -- even more so than they are in fantasy and science fiction, and certainly rare compared to superheroes. So a treatment of what Characteristics can do, one point at a time, at these levels can only be helpful.

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

 

Something else just occurred to me...

 

In many ways, Dark Champions is the "un-Champions" of the Hero line. In Champions, everything's about Powers -- shooting bolts of energy, lifting automobiles, flying at incredible speeds -- and so Characteristics are high and Skills are highly generalized.

 

Plenty's already been said on this thread about de-generalizing and focusing Skills. But about Characteristics....

 

Each of the eight Primary Characteristics should be broken down so that every single point can make a difference. BODY is already pretty smooth (BODY Rolls are rare and nothing else divides) and DEX has /3 and /5 for breakpoint figuring, so these two Characteristics won't need much attention in this area. Increased Damage Differentiation can be brought in from TUB, not just for STR but also for PRE (and possibly for other Characteristics as well). For INT, maybe some of the things that use INT/5 can do away with rounding so 0 and 5 are as good as 3 and 8 for breakpoints. I'm not sure what could be done with CON or EGO (the latter only becomes a concern because DC will rarely have Mental Powers), but the folks around here are pretty creative and can probably come up with a suggestion or two.

Tangent - I disagree skills are so generalized even in Champions. Some skills are very focused (Acrobatics has been broken out a bit over the years, it's not at all like what it once was) and the dichotomy among professional, science, and knowledge skills, as well as the at-times extreme differentiation within those is pretty focused. We lost the old Detective Skill and wound up with Deduction, Forensics, PS: Detective, etc.. Of course some genres require even greater focus - as Star HERO broke out Systems Security, so will Dark Champions break out some skills.

 

I bring this up only because I'm one of those who wasn't that fond of breaking up the old first/second edition skills in the Champions (specific) genre in the first place, although I do accept it and generally think it was for the best given HERO's move from Champions to a universal toolkit. I still would like to see "uber-skills" in the Champions genre, though that's easy enough to model with EC: Detective Skills or other constructs. It would be good for things like Champions: The Sidekick Edition. :D Actually uber-skills work well in a simple, somewhat low-powered, Golden Age Champions adventure.

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Re: Realistic Body Armor Rules

 

I'd like to see a realistic treatment of Body Armor.

 

How much protection can you get and still keep it concealed?

 

Cover the advantages that hard armor (trauma plates) have over soft body armor. For instance, shoot a guy in the chest with a 12-guage at close range. If he's got a trauma plate on he'll get tossed back pretty good but he'll most likely survive. If the same guy is wearing only soft armor, none of the pellets may penetrate but he's probably going to get his chest caved in due to the shear impact in at a single point.

 

A teflon-coated round may be better at penetrating soft armor, but it won't help much against an armor plate.

 

Heavy armor is generally uncomfortable and traps body heat, all of this should be an added distraction for a person trying to hit a target, hear a noise or use certain skills.

 

I hope there will be some good rules for preventing potential player abuse of armor. I once had a character argue (unsucessfully) that he ought to be able to wear a full EOD suit in a normal fire-fight since he was so strong it didn't really encumber him (according the the encumberance rules). Fortunately my players have matured since that incident.

 

Most soft body armor is good against bullets but should not offer much protection against baseball bats, knives, falling damage, etc.

 

I agree with most of this but since this is another one saying body armor only works vs bullets, that simply isn't true. Soft Body armor doesn't work well against some types of attacks but they are fairly limited. Body armor works great against slashing attacks, blunt trauma, car crashes, fire (kevlar is used in many brands of firefighting gear) and a great many other types of attack. What body armor doesn't do well is protect against small pointed stabbing weapons like ice picks or multiple strikes (autofire weapons). Pointy weapons at low velocity tend to move the strands of armor out of the way and multiple attacks tend to cause the armor to bunch up creating "holes" where the armor material has moved out of place. There are body armors with fine titanium mesh to deal with stabbing attacks (often used by corrections officers), and newer materials that are bonded in place to prevent its dislocation from multiple strikes.

 

I agree though that the disadvantages of body armor should be dealt with, discomfort, heat stress, and concealability being at the top. The encumbrance rules in HERO have never been very good, many of the disadvantages of armor are fine to ignore in FH because it fits the genre in most cases but modern armors should be more of a trade off even though they actually are nothing compared to wearing mideval armor.

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

 

Well' date=' first, what [i']Dark Champions[/i] has been (in its 4th-Ed incarnation) is a matter for another thread -- specifically, the one about whether this book should even be called Dark Champions. The old book was about low-power, street-level supers; this new one is about action heroes.

 

Looks like I've got to go hunting for yet another thread. I'm really looking forward to the day when I can spend the time to keep up. Never read anything about the change.

 

I'm not much worried about it in the end. Hero makes it easy to step the action back up to street-level supers. I does tend to explain the direction of the DC threads though.

 

Spence

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Re: Realistic Body Armor Rules

 

I agree with most of this but since this is another one saying body armor only works vs bullets, that simply isn't true. Soft Body armor doesn't work well against some types of attacks but they are fairly limited. Body armor works great against slashing attacks, blunt trauma, car crashes, fire (kevlar is used in many brands of firefighting gear) and a great many other types of attack. What body armor doesn't do well is protect against small pointed stabbing weapons like ice picks or multiple strikes (autofire weapons). Pointy weapons at low velocity tend to move the strands of armor out of the way and multiple attacks tend to cause the armor to bunch up creating "holes" where the armor material has moved out of place. There are body armors with fine titanium mesh to deal with stabbing attacks (often used by corrections officers), and newer materials that are bonded in place to prevent its dislocation from multiple strikes.

 

I agree though that the disadvantages of body armor should be dealt with, discomfort, heat stress, and concealability being at the top. The encumbrance rules in HERO have never been very good, many of the disadvantages of armor are fine to ignore in FH because it fits the genre in most cases but modern armors should be more of a trade off even though they actually are nothing compared to wearing mideval armor.

 

I think Edsel and I are were refering to concealable bullet-resistant vests. Specifically threat level IIa and IIIa armors, which traditionally have poor performance against knives or club attacks unless the attack hits a trauma plate. Now a threat level III or IV style vest will provide a lot more protection against blunt trauma and knive attacks becuase of the significant increase in layers and larger stronger trauma plates. So I could see a III or IV providing almost it's full protection against those types of attacks but not the average IIa or IIIa. And again I want to emphasize *reduced* protection against non-bullet type attacks. I just have a hard time with a Kevlar vest (IIIa) providing 9 rPD against knife attacks, it would be impervious to a normal dagger. I could see it providing 3 or 4 rPD which puts it in the same class as boiled leather or brigadine.

 

As far as energy attacks go Kevlar is great at dealing with heat because it was originally designed a supplemental material for tires. I would probably give it a higher rPD against heat than any of the current values (5, 9, 11). But how well does it protect against cold, sound, electricity, lasers, etc.

 

Another good point that you brought up is repeated hits, only the newer vests, made out of bonded materials like Spectra perform well against repeated hits. Maybe we should model the older vests with the ablative limitation? If nothing else this could give a little shopping variety to the players, give them older tech vests at reduced prices. Also several people on this board have wanted to see some timeline perspective on available weapons and technology. Armor should get the same treatment. The improvements you listed weren't available 20 years ago, even Kevlar itself has been improved in that time frame. And in the near future we'll see spider silk replace current fibers in protective vests for even better protection. So maybe the armor section could be a small table that shows the improvements over the last 60 years, from flak jackets to now and maybe a little into the future. I know I'd appreciate it, but it's not a huge deal, I can live with the current stats for playability reasons if I have too.

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Re: Realistic Body Armor Rules

 

I'm going to be deliberately repetitive here and bring up something others have - but I will state that I think it is CRUCIAL that everything reasonably possible be done on the front cover to indicate this is NOT a super-hero book. I think it's easy for HERO (like many such companies) to forget that MANY people are out there and not using the Internet to get info and not doing anything more than going to their FLGS to buy. Those people are very much at risk to see the title and grab it - I know, because I was one of those people not all that long ago. Yes, I realize that more and more people are now on the Internet and this info is available to them in advance, but still many are not. And on the other side of this coin, I think a lot of people would probably buy DC if they knew what it was who otherwise would not, as opposed to even the concern over who would buy it and then not get what they wanted.

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

 

Don't know if this has been covered ot not, but will there be anything concerning street gangs and how they often differ from one another? From what I've read, black gangs are usually out to make money -- Hispanics are more interested in defending the neighborhood -- and white gangs often seem to be just in it for the violence.

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

 

Don't know if this has been covered ot not' date=' but will there be anything concerning street gangs and how they often differ from one another? From what I've read, black gangs are usually out to make money -- Hispanics are more interested in defending the neighborhood -- and white gangs often seem to be just in it for the violence.[/quote']

PC alert/PC alert!

 

Seriously, in the politically-correct environment we live in, I wouldn't wish that kind of sharing on HERO. I think you have a great idea, don't get me wrong! And I see nothing wrong with it. But I think as a pragmatic matter, HERO is better served not touching it in the racial way you suggest. But general gang info would be great.

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

 

PC alert/PC alert!

 

Seriously, in the politically-correct environment we live in, I wouldn't wish that kind of sharing on HERO. I think you have a great idea, don't get me wrong! And I see nothing wrong with it. But I think as a pragmatic matter, HERO is better served not touching it in the racial way you suggest. But general gang info would be great.

 

One of the better points of the original DC was the comprehensive overview of both gangs and organized crime syndicates, and Steve wasn't afraid to point out that the Mexican Mafia (operating out of prison) concentrated on the drug trade, or that the Asian gangs were more prone to violent outbursts, etc.

 

He was also at pains to point out where the reality differs from the cinematic public image (e.g. the Yakuza doesn't use Ninja, assuming they exist).

 

JG

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

 

One of the better points of the original DC was the comprehensive overview of both gangs and organized crime syndicates, and Steve wasn't afraid to point out that the Mexican Mafia (operating out of prison) concentrated on the drug trade, or that the Asian gangs were more prone to violent outbursts, etc.

 

He was also at pains to point out where the reality differs from the cinematic public image (e.g. the Yakuza doesn't use Ninja, assuming they exist).

 

JG

I stand corrected.

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

 

What would I like to see in the Dark Champions book? More options for heroic-level characters. I'm not too fond of the superheroic genre. I prefer my heroes to be "mere mortals."

 

That seems to be the current focus, as it was the focus of older sourcebooks like An Eye for an Eye.

 

JG

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

 

the Mission Impossible TV series generally got through each mission without a single shot fired or punch thrown. Real-life SWAT teams are often called out and do little more than show their willingness to use extreme force -- basically a massive boost to one officer's Persuasion roll.

 

In the real world nobody plays fair. Cops doing a raid plan to achieve effective dominance so fast that there is no chance for the bad guys to resist. They use large teams, careful planning and lots of training. Same thing with a SoCom operation. (Except for the lack of handcuffs) People on your side get killed in a fair fight.

 

I've found that most players don't seem to get this unless you have their characters killed when they try a fair, standup fight. And getting players to actually work in the way they need to to be really effective is like herding cats.

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

 

I'll second RDU Neils request and expand it to a request for a discussion of overall combat psychology to cover not only can character keep their cool in combat' date=' but also things like do they have the ability to kill other humans at close distances (the old saw from WW2 was that 10% of the soldiers were doing 90% of the killing).[/quote']

 

The numbers you cite, from SLA Marshal's "Men Against Fire" have been pretty conclusively shown to have been made up by Marshal. He never asked the questions needed according to the men who accompanied him on his interviews. And it doesn't jib with the memories of combat infantrymen. New editions of the book admit this.

 

http://pages.slc.edu/~fsmoler/amheritagemarshall1989pageone.htm

http://www.warchronicle.com/us/combat_historians_wwii/marshallfire.htm

http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/03autumn/chambers.pdf

 

Sorry for the diversion into military history, but the Marshal "ratio of fire" myth is a pet peeve of mine.

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

 

So, what do you wanna see in the book?

 

Tactical Entry stuff

 

Explosive breaching. Linear shaped charges, water shots, and det cord can do all sorts of interesting things. For example, the use of door or wall breaching charges. These can be used in fairly close proximity to an entry team (if the guy who designed the charge knows what he's doing) and have, when used correctly, relatively little danger to people on the inside. Which isn't exactly how champions "models" explosives.

 

And speaking of breaching, shotgun breaches of doors? Hand and power tools (Hurst tools, battering ram, rescue saw)?

 

Possibly some mention the the differnce between the fairly carefully calculated LEO approach to explosive breaching that the rather more agressive military combat approach. The LEO typically opens THAT door using the RIGHT amount of explosive, the infantry typically opens ANY probable door using ENOUGH explosives in a prepackaged unit.

 

As most players seem fairly clueless on this, some info or references to fairly easy to find refences on how a team or a pair of people should move and why. The real-world back-to-back search mode isn't something people see on TV.

 

 

More realistic ideas of how people open things

 

For example, how long does it take to actually pick a lock? I have no idea, and I suspect it depends greatly on skill of the attacker and how good a lock is, but some information would be useful.

 

Safe cracking is similar (except that it's a totally different skill that is typically know by the same people), but with the major change that it's basically impossible to open a decent modern safe by manipulation. You have to use tools to cut, drill, blast or burn your way in. It's knowing what tools to use where, but even then, it takes a while. The only benchmarks I have was that a locksmith who opened a lot of safes once mentioned that it took him just two hours to open a very serious bank vault, but that was due to his being given the plans of the timelock location by the bank so he could hit it on the first try with his drill. Otherwise the secondary locks make this really tough. A "good" gunsafe he could do in 15 minutes with a drill.

 

And of course the typical shadowrun trick of attacking the electronic keypad or prox pad on an electronic access control system just doesn't work. The logic is in the the controller, not the pad. The controller, inside the place you are trying to get inside of, just notes that lots of bad attempts have been made (or other unusual things have happened) and does whatever it's programed to do, either ignore it, ignore attempts for a while, or sound an alarm. At my job this focuses a camera on the doorway, sounds an audible alarm in the monitoring center and brings up a floorplan on the computer for the guard to know where the door is and what it protects.

 

There are other ways of attacking electronic access systems, but not as is usually presented.

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