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RDU Neil

Modern & "Realistic"

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Any of you folks out there watching "24" or "The Shield?"

 

How about movies like Gene Hackman's "The Package" or more recently "Narc" or slightly over the top "The Bourne Identity"

 

This style of adventure... realistic, violent, suspenseful... all about grit and guns and terrorism and espionage... does anyone play these kind of campaigns... or even mini-campaigns or one shots?

 

See... I love this kind of game. No superheroics, no "cinematic" action... real world laws and concerns... characaters who logically DON'T want to get shot at... weapons are deadly... etc. I think I'm alone in loving this level of game.

 

Everyone else I know, and all the posts on these boards, are all about larger than life Player Charcters, magic, super powers, etc. I like this stuff, too, but I miss the days of "Danger International" if you folks remember that old Hero System product from the '80s. Some of the greatest adventures I've ever run, or been involved in, were like a good cop drama or suspense film, and NOT a comic book or Action movie.

 

I guess I just wonder if anyone out there is playing this kind of game at all. I really miss it.

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I run an occasional game titled: Seal Team 1. The game is really only designed to be played for a specific mission (2-3 sessions) but it is always a lot of fun.

 

The problem with "real life" adventures is that characters can die fairly quickly. One lucky hit to the head and it's bye-bye Sgt Rock. Because you are making them the way you want them, HERO System characters can take a long time to make, so when the character gets killed by a lucky shot within the first hour the game the players can become discouraged.

 

Personally I think realistic styles of games are either better for convention games, where the player does not really care if the character gets killed, or better for systems like d20 where as much effort is not put into the character creation; and thus it is easier to build a new character as each is killed off.

 

I am not exactly looking forward to a new Danger International. Personally I do not think there is enough demand in the market for those styles of games any longer. I think it would be better for Hero Games to focus its efforts into a Super Agents game. I think the mixing of normal and superhuman has a greater uniqueness and a larger interest for most gamers.

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Re: Modern & "Realistic"

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

Any of you folks out there watching "24" or "The Shield?"

 

How about movies like Gene Hackman's "The Package" or more recently "Narc" or slightly over the top "The Bourne Identity"

 

This style of adventure... realistic, violent, suspenseful... all about grit and guns and terrorism and espionage... does anyone play these kind of campaigns... or even mini-campaigns or one shots?

 

See... I love this kind of game. No superheroics, no "cinematic" action... real world laws and concerns... characaters who logically DON'T want to get shot at... weapons are deadly... etc. I think I'm alone in loving this level of game.

 

Everyone else I know, and all the posts on these boards, are all about larger than life Player Charcters, magic, super powers, etc. I like this stuff, too, but I miss the days of "Danger International" if you folks remember that old Hero System product from the '80s. Some of the greatest adventures I've ever run, or been involved in, were like a good cop drama or suspense film, and NOT a comic book or Action movie.

 

I guess I just wonder if anyone out there is playing this kind of game at all. I really miss it.

 

I don't think any of those movies could be considered realistic. Something like Far From Heaven might be realistic (except that the black lead looks like he is about to duck into a phone booth and come out in a cape . . .). Your choices are "dark and gritty" not "realistic" which can be fun as long as your players aren't sulky about death, disability and defeat.

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Originally posted by Monolith

I run an occasional game titled: Seal Team 1. The game is really only designed to be played for a specific mission (2-3 sessions) but it is always a lot of fun.

 

The problem with "real life" adventures is that characters can die fairly quickly. One lucky hit to the head and it's bye-bye Sgt Rock. Because you are making them the way you want them, HERO System characters can take a long time to make, so when the character gets killed by a lucky shot within the first hour the game the players can become discouraged.

 

Personally I think realistic styles of games are either better for convention games, where the player does not really care if the character gets killed, or better for systems like d20 where as much effort is not put into the character creation; and thus it is easier to build a new character as each is killed off.

 

I am not exactly looking forward to a new Danger International. Personally I do not think there is enough demand in the market for those styles of games any longer. I think it would be better for Hero Games to focus its efforts into a Super Agents game. I think the mixing of normal and superhuman has a greater uniqueness and a larger interest for most gamers.

 

I totally agree that a "campaign" of Danger International is very hard to maintain. Characters die or get badly hurt, paralyzed, or other retire... so one shot games, or mini-campaigns... two or three episodes... are best.

 

I think this reason... more than possible death of a character... keeps players away. So many players want to develop a character to the nth degree. They want to play a character forever... which I've never understood. I like to play a character, until they fulfill their mission/objective... or die trying... but after that, eh... what's next. The idea of playing a character every week, over and over... really gets boring to me. Probably why I GM most of the time... so I can enjoy world building, plots, and lots of other characters, rather than just one.

 

Superheroics and other "larger than life" character concepts, allow for players to justify their character living through weekly life or death battles. When you start leaning toward a more realistic level of game, verisimilitude is quickly lost, if players cheat death every week.

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Re: Re: Modern & "Realistic"

 

Originally posted by ZootSoot

I don't think any of those movies could be considered realistic. Something like Far From Heaven might be realistic (except that the black lead looks like he is about to duck into a phone booth and come out in a cape . . .). Your choices are "dark and gritty" not "realistic" which can be fun as long as your players aren't sulky about death, disability and defeat.

 

I pute "realistic" in quotes for a reason. If you want realism, you don't game. Just live your boring, no guns and violence life.

 

As for "gritty" well, that is feel over content, ususally. A superhero campaign can be very "gritty" with lots of blood and death. I'm more talking about a more normal human level of game... whether or not death happens. Yes, "24" isn't realistic in that death defying events happen every hour, and Jack lives through them all... but individually, no one event is beyond probability. There's no hanging from chandeliers, or ice palaces, or laser death beams, or battles in gadget laden cars, like in the latest Bond film. I've had old Danger International adventures that were far from gritty, and were funny, goofy... and violence was running from a barfight in order to not get busted by the cops. I don't know how else to describe this 'closer to normal' level of game than "realistic"... even though I know it's not really realistic.

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One of the most enjoyable campaigns I've ever played in was a military campaign run in the same world as a superheroic campaign that all of the players were also involved in. The characters were low powered, and death was a real possibility. Every player had several characters, and every time we played one or more of each player's characters would get chosen for the current mission. We'd arm up and head out, and if one of your characters bought it, it sucked but you had others already made so you could keep playing. It was a great deal of fun, although it could also be very violent.

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Originally posted by archermoo

One of the most enjoyable campaigns I've ever played in was a military campaign run in the same world as a superheroic campaign that all of the players were also involved in. The characters were low powered, and death was a real possibility. Every player had several characters, and every time we played one or more of each player's characters would get chosen for the current mission. We'd arm up and head out, and if one of your characters bought it, it sucked but you had others already made so you could keep playing. It was a great deal of fun, although it could also be very violent.

 

This kind of campaign is actually my favorite style of superheroic campaign. Wild stuff exists... but the PCs have to be much more normal. This kind of campaign I can get people to play in, because it is more wild... less "realistic" because of the setting, and you can justify high "luck" powers and the like to keep your characters alive... though death does happen.

 

I guess it's just hard to find folks who want to play in the "real world." LIke I'd much rather watch Law & Order than go see the Daredevil movie (though I'll do both) I'd much rather play a normal private detective, ex-military type or new photographer... rather than a superhero.

 

Just a matter of taste, I guess. :cool:

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I like something in betwween. I want usually go with dark and gritty where the character realize that they are in great danger, but where actual death is seldom. Injury on the other hand can really put a character down for a while.

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Re: Re: Modern & "Realistic"

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

I totally agree that a "campaign" of Danger International is very hard to maintain. Characters die or get badly hurt, paralyzed, or other retire... so one shot games, or mini-campaigns... two or three episodes... are best.

 

I've always felt that they way around the problem is a shift in storytelling...

 

Most RPGs emphasize the PCs. The PCs are central to the campaign and individual sessions comprising the campaign. PCs develop, have goals, work to achieve those goals, etc.

 

If the focus were shifted to the organization, to which the PCs belonged, PC death or disability would not nearly be so damaging to the campaign. The organization develops, has goals, works to achieve those goals. The death of a PC would not end the organization, but could conceivable further its goals, and so (hopefully!) the player would be satisfied with that, rather than disappointed by the death of his character.

 

I mean you'd have to interest the players in the organization enough, that they were willing to perceive (and role-play accordingly) their characters as primarily a means of furthering the organization's story. In essence: that the campaign isn't about John Doe, international man of mystery, but about the organization John Doe belongs to.

 

Most important though, you'd have to intrigue the players with the story told about the organization in order to hold their attention.

 

And, of course, this is all hypothetical... I've never put it into practice, so take it for what it's worth. I think players, who could divorce themselves enough from a character to make it work, are in the minority.

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re: Organization vs Characters.

 

I used to run Pacesetter Chill. Great game, but the main point that I'm going to make here is that allen's right.

 

Make the organization the focus. In Chill, that was SAVE. The organization gathered the PCs together, and sent them out on monster hunting missions. I was a kind GM, and only had 50% casualties. The GM that introduced the game to me had a 85%.

 

And, we loved it. My character may well have gotten put into a coma, but I gained the piece of information necessary for Dave's character to kill the beastie by burning the house down. Next time, Keith's character got his head turned around backwards, but I managed to stake the vampire while she was distracted. Teamwork and the overall mission were the focuses of the campaign. Not individual PCs.

 

However, it requires having Players that aren't Plumbers. Ones that can make throwaway characters, and not devote a 20 page background and 2 days of tweaking numbers to creating the Ultimate Monster Hunter.

 

Because one lucky shot, the GM picks up every dice he owns, drops them on the table and says, "you take some damage."

 

And it blows to have spend many days devoting yourself to crafting a piece of artwork and watching it get mangled like a Red Shirt on classic Trek.

 

D

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Re: re: Organization vs Characters.

 

Originally posted by misterdeath

I used to run Pacesetter Chill. Great game, but the main point that I'm going to make here is that allen's right.

 

 

D

 

Man! Chill was a great game. Some of the best production values of any game company. Great writing, artwork, and layout! Too bad I could never get my group to play:(

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"Realistic" game

 

Actually,

one game I ran using the 4th ed Champions was an adaptation of the Millenium's End game.

 

The Pc's are a operative cell for a private security and investigation firm. i.e: They took contracts from all sorts of clients and dealt with all kinds of situations.

 

Missing persons cases involving the underground LA porn industry, kidnap victims being rescued from rebel camps in the jungles of Colombia, exposing neo-nazi buisness men in league with war criminals from the Balkans war...

 

And when everyone wanted to dirty their hands some, I had the Pc's accept a contract to kill a Thai heroin baron on behalf of a rival.

 

It is still a commonly requested game from my players.

 

Tyrant.

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Originally posted by RDU Neil

This kind of campaign is actually my favorite style of superheroic campaign. Wild stuff exists... but the PCs have to be much more normal. This kind of campaign I can get people to play in, because it is more wild... less "realistic" because of the setting, and you can justify high "luck" powers and the like to keep your characters alive... though death does happen.

 

I guess it's just hard to find folks who want to play in the "real world." LIke I'd much rather watch Law & Order than go see the Daredevil movie (though I'll do both) I'd much rather play a normal private detective, ex-military type or new photographer... rather than a superhero.

 

Just a matter of taste, I guess. :cool:

 

The characters in the military campaign weren't super-powered at all. We were normals with stuff. Super powers existed, and a lot of the missions we went on were dealing with super-powered bad guys, but there weren't any supers on the teams.

 

Probably my favourite character could, if he pushed his strength, use what were effectivly 2 M-60s, one in each arm. He took STUN from doing it, but laid waste to the opposition while doing so. :) He very nearly died one mission, but was saved by one of his teammates rolling a 3 on their paramedics roll. Kept him from bleeding out before the evac chopper could show up.

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As a player and as a GM, I prefer games which are both lower powered and more realistic than the vast majority out there. This includes my "fantasy hero" games, which take place in a fictional and somewhat fantastic world, but which sometimes have little or no magic. When something magical does come along, it really stands out.

 

A partial solution to the problem of PC's dying too easily is to deemphasize violence. I am not talking about Smurfworld here. There can be plenty of drama and conflict with the constant threat of violence but little actual violence.

 

I want to clarify that the games I like are RELATIVELY realistic, as compared to most RPG campaigns, not compared to our everyday lives. Furthermore, I am not arguing for the superiority of such games. I am just stating my personal preference and offering suggestions for others with similar preferences.

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I would love to play those plot intensive games again. I'm just too busy with my career and being a Family Man anymore. What I love about High Fantasy and Superheroes is that the plots are grand and simple and easy to concoct while still being entertaining.

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Re: Modern & "Realistic"

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

Any of you folks out there watching "24" or "The Shield?"

 

How about movies like Gene Hackman's "The Package" or more recently "Narc" or slightly over the top "The Bourne Identity"

 

This style of adventure... realistic, violent, suspenseful... all about grit and guns and terrorism and espionage... does anyone play these kind of campaigns... or even mini-campaigns or one shots?

 

See... I love this kind of game. No superheroics, no "cinematic" action... real world laws and concerns... characaters who logically DON'T want to get shot at... weapons are deadly... etc. I think I'm alone in loving this level of game.

 

Everyone else I know, and all the posts on these boards, are all about larger than life Player Charcters, magic, super powers, etc. I like this stuff, too, but I miss the days of "Danger International" if you folks remember that old Hero System product from the '80s. Some of the greatest adventures I've ever run, or been involved in, were like a good cop drama or suspense film, and NOT a comic book or Action movie.

 

I guess I just wonder if anyone out there is playing this kind of game at all. I really miss it.

 

DI was my favorite, ok maybe a tie with Justice Inc but I count "modern realistic" games as my favorite, followed closely by fantasy. I've noticed the same thing "modern realistic" to many equals why play a game go to work theres your realistic game. I used DI, JI and 4th Ed. to play Morrow Project, Aftermath, twilight 2000 (I kinda like Post Apacalypse games), a short merc campaign, a counter terrorist campaign, a couple of espionage games, Call of Cthulhu, Stalking the night fantastic (horror) and a brief multi-dimensional game. I've been working on some WW2 material and was hoping to run a one shot Normandy game at the Dundracon (a starter for a campaign) but haven't progressed far enough yet to do it this year. HERO works quite well for "modern realistic", I also used the Armory which offered many extra nasty weapons, never had that much trouble with killing players, and I used most of the optional rules, HERO characters are pretty tough, sure one dies here and there but for the most part I didn't find HERO to deadly for modern games, GURPS was much worse for death tolls. Personnally I find HERO works very well for these games. Its not just these boards, i've found many gamers have a snobbery against these types of games as unworthy of being RPG's and many on these boards will argue that HERO is terrible for them, don't believe it.

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Relieved...

 

... to see I'm not the only one who likes this "more realistic" style of game. :D

 

My players have no problem with gritty, but they do want to be "larger than life" and their characters are the prime focus, not the organization. That's fine, and I run a very complex superworld that is very satisfying.

 

I guess I just miss the private detectives and ex-Green Berets, trying to stop terrorists, or lying gut shot in a back alley when things go wrong. Players who play "normal people in extraordinary circumstances" rather than "extraordinary people."

 

Not something I want ALL the time, but would like to play some it some times. Do love the idea of focusing ont he "agency" and not the "agent" but I'm not sure if my players would like that.

 

Again, all a matter of personal preference... not saying one game is better than another.

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Re: Relieved...

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

Not something I want ALL the time, but would like to play some it some times. Do love the idea of focusing ont he "agency" and not the "agent" but I'm not sure if my players would like that.

 

Agency is a better word for it than organization...

 

And, yeah, I've known individual players that would enjoy such a game, but never a whole group of them... I have thought that if I allowed the players to develop the agency, decide its goals, put them in charge of divisions and departments, make up parts of its background, they would "displace" their attachment to the characters to the agency itself -- kind of throw a bone to the plumbers out there -- but eh...

 

Someday, when I'm in the retirement home, I'll have a captive audience (haha) and run this game, but until then I'm afraid it's not likely...

 

allen

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Re: Re: Relieved...

 

Originally posted by allen

I have thought that if I allowed the players to develop the agency, decide its goals, put them in charge of divisions and departments, make up parts of its background, they would "displace" their attachment to the characters to the agency itself -- kind of throw a bone to the plumbers out there -- but eh...

 

allen

 

I should give props to Storn Cook, who pulled off a similar concept, but in Fantasy Hero (and his own system) rather than modern day. He basically took our "ragtag adventurer" types, and, having built a fantasy world based on Forgotten Realms... gave us political/royal power. My character was made a Duke of a small town... based on my adventures and some precog powers that had conviced the queen the importance of this small area of her kingdom. The other players became my advisors and generals... often doing much more of the adventuring than I did. We all had multiple characters, as our main guys became stay at home and administer types, and others became the adventurers, soliders, explorers. This worked really well, as we could lose characters to battle, without the campaign itself ending.

 

Even though the campaign petered out after a few years, for a number of reasons, it still has to be one of the two strongest fantasy campaigns I've participated in.

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I would add Ronin to the list of movies that reflect the Modern & Realistic idea. Unlike 007, who is always above local law enforcement (especially in the Deep South), the characters in Ronin actually have to run when the police show up. And, holy snikeys, the police actually do show up just a couple of minutes after a firefight starts. What a concept.

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YES... RONIN!

 

Originally posted by Nelijal

I would add Ronin to the list of movies that reflect the Modern & Realistic idea. Unlike 007, who is always above local law enforcement (especially in the Deep South), the characters in Ronin actually have to run when the police show up. And, holy snikeys, the police actually do show up just a couple of minutes after a firefight starts. What a concept.

 

Thank you for reminding me. Heck... I own the movie.

 

LOVE the movie Ronin. :cool:

 

Other movies that make for good, "more realistic" style adventures.

 

China Town

Any of the Godfather movies.

The Bodyguard (yes, cheesy as it may sound, it's a solid DI adventure)

To Live & Die In LA (heck, the main PC bites it half way through the movie!)

Man On Fire

Platoon

Year of the Dragon

Heat and Manhunter from Michael Mann

Serpico

Taxi Driver

 

from TV, the old Edward Woodward show, "The Equalizer" (loved that show)

the new Michael Mann show, "Robbery Homicide"

 

ahhh... I really want to play DI again, darnit

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Re: Relieved...

 

Originally posted by RDU Neil

... to see I'm not the only one who likes this "more realistic" style of game. :D

 

My players have no problem with gritty, but they do want to be "larger than life" and their characters are the prime focus, not the organization. That's fine, and I run a very complex superworld that is very satisfying.

 

I guess I just miss the private detectives and ex-Green Berets, trying to stop terrorists, or lying gut shot in a back alley when things go wrong. Players who play "normal people in extraordinary circumstances" rather than "extraordinary people."

 

Not something I want ALL the time, but would like to play some it some times. Do love the idea of focusing ont he "agency" and not the "agent" but I'm not sure if my players would like that.

 

Again, all a matter of personal preference... not saying one game is better than another.

 

Neil, I think you are misinterperting at least one of your players. Me. I cut my teeth on the Hero system thru Danger International. It was the game of choice for several years. I LOVE D.I. style games (as I enjoyed your cyberpunk games too). I preferred Top Secret to D&D any day of the week before D.I. I love lethal combat systems, it plays to my strenght as a tactician.

 

My major problem with D.I., besides the high mortality rate issue( the cyberpunk game grounded to a halt after my ex-leionairre took a bullet thru the skull, but for the record, I don't mind high mortality if I know tha t is to be that kinda game.), it that it is set in the real world. Sounds contridictory doesn't it?

 

But what I mean is that the PCs by the very nature are going to be involved in some pretty amazing adventures, even if they are more "realistic" than Dark Champions or Fantasy games. Three deaths in a gunbattle in a city even like NYC is going to stir the waters... and I've seen D.I. games hand out casualties of much higher numbers. So it is hard to sustain the sense of disbelief... that these PCs are operating in a shadowy world.

 

Lastly, I simply prefers Spies and Internat'l Mercenaries to Private Eyes and Cops. I just like that canvas to tell stories better. But the problem with a Spy, is that one Spy at the right place can change the path of history. It might not be evident up close in the game, but can easily happen. So, again, the sense of disbelief, for me, gets challenged. If the solution calls for teh taking out of the French Prime Minister... and it happens...boom, we are no longer gaming in the real world. WE are gaming in an alternate history. which, for some reason, bothers me a bit. Yet being constrained to nothing to change the world bothers me as well.

 

And this can happen in a Chicago based P.I. game too. PCs mess up and the L gets bombed. Well, that has an enormous impact on the city of Chicago. Economic, folks trying to get to work... we address that in the game....boom... alternate history time.

 

Which is why I prefer something like cyberpunk. You can do all the tropes of D.I., but there is a bit more flexibility. We can whack the Prez of the US if the story takes us there. If Mexico needs to be the shining star of the future, with very little corruption and democratic society...boom... it can be so.

 

But to say that I'm not interested in a game like that... well...that just ain't so.

 

The real problem you have is that RDU is the 800 lb gorilla. The demand for playing that campaign is paramount. Not only fromt he players, but from yourself. You have stated on these boards that you are a continuity freak. Well. RDU is the haven of continuity. It has been going on for a long time. It is very seductuve with its width and breath and scope. It is the reason that I'm running a spy campaign. Yet it is set in RDU and it is superheroes.

 

I think for a D.I. game to succeed, it would have to be entirely removed from RDU, completely and utterly. It is not D.I. with supers or psionics or even low level Talents.

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Guest AGLAR
Originally posted by RDU Neil

I totally agree that a "campaign" of Danger International is very hard to maintain. Characters die or get badly hurt, paralyzed, or other retire... so one shot games, or mini-campaigns... two or three episodes... are best.

 

I think this reason... more than possible death of a character... keeps players away. So many players want to develop a character to the nth degree. They want to play a character forever... which I've never understood. I like to play a character, until they fulfill their mission/objective... or die trying... but after that, eh... what's next. The idea of playing a character every week, over and over... really gets boring to me. Probably why I GM most of the time... so I can enjoy world building, plots, and lots of other characters, rather than just one.

 

Superheroics and other "larger than life" character concepts, allow for players to justify their character living through weekly life or death battles. When you start leaning toward a more realistic level of game, verisimilitude is quickly lost, if players cheat death every week.

 

YES!!! I wholeheartedly agree!!!

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Originally posted by AGLAR

YES!!! I wholeheartedly agree!!!

 

I'm facing a similar problem in the new steampunk game that I'm running. For so long I've run Champions games, where one shot doesn't necessarily take a guy out. We had a fight with one PC and two NPC's against a dinosaur (don't ask), and the dino (a 8-foot tall velociraptor type) could kill a human with one chomp.

 

So, I pulled a few strings during the game to avoid the PC losing his left leg and right arm (using hit locations). It's made me realize that I need to pay closer attention to what the creatures they encounter can do. Not to mention that I need to re-read the 5E combat rules to see what I'm missing and what optional rules could be of use.

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