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JadeFox

Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

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Our group is starting a new Champions game next week. We've been gaming together for awhile, but we haven't done Champions before. Indeed, I haven't really played HERO since it was *just* Champions (really like the new edition). The GM told us that the theme of this game is that we would be working for a retired superhero patron who was looking to work a new supergroup, with our help. So, we rolled up characters, and have come to a...bit of an impasse.

 

Listing the PC's:

 

Player 1) Charles Dautton, a Mutant-Blaster hero with Transformation powers shooting out of every part of his body. Turns rocks into cars, cars into rocks, and bad guys into...bad guys with 0 STUN, I guess. Very Knight-In-Shining-Armor type, no lethal powers, will never take life, etc etc. He's a superman/boyscout/pope mix.

 

Player 2) , a Magic-Blaster hero who takes the role of Shadow-Sorceress. Again, no lethal powers, she's all about drains, stuns, and disabling magic. Not quite a boyscout, but decently honorable and unquestionably good.

 

Player 3) Petty Officer Doe, a Tech-Scrapper hero who plays the role of supersolider. Equipped with power armor, cybernetics, grenades, and his blaster sniper-rifle, he's well equipped to terminate any villians who get in his way. Morally neutral, he is a decidedly lethal character.

 

Player 4 *me*) Central, a Tech-Mastermind hero, and an AI in the service of the groups patron. Using Summons, Enhanced Senses, Aids, Heals, and Contacts, he and his remote drones play pretty much every noncombat roll in the boom-heavy group. Determined to accomplish his masters objects by whatever methods prove nessicary, he's not above having a villian killed. For the greater good, of course. Decidedly lethal charachter.

 

--

 

Essentially, we have two nonlethal, boyscout characters and two very lethal netrual/evil characters. The GM has said we should work it out amongst ourselves, and neither the two good, nor two non-good characters want to reroll completely.

 

Is there any way these four can get along? Or if not, a minimum of modifications that would let them get along?

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

It doesn't have to be a problem. Sure, there'll be clashes, but it'd all be in-character. It looks like everybody's aim is still the same, "the greater good". It's just that they differ on the means to acheive it.

 

Do the "boyscout" types object to OTHER heroes using lethal force? They don't need to, they might just have personal codes against killing. Even if they do, it need not bring the campaign to a standstill... it can be a source of interpersonal complications which make roleplaying all that more interesting. Think Wolverine and the X-Men.

 

Btw... COH much? "Tech-Scrapper", "Tech-Mastermind", etc? Hehehe...

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

First - get down the tone of the genre, drag the GM back into the discussion.

 

Once the tone is set that will tell you which set of Players should adjusted.

 

Ideally a meeting in the middle is what you want.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

First - get down the tone of the genre' date=' drag the GM back into the discussion.[/quote']

 

Yes.

 

The information you provided told us nothing about the game in terms of tone. It sounds like the GM might be trying to go with the flow. Unfortunately that only works when the players are all on the same page. In this case it seems like they aren't.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Yeah, the GM needs to make a call as to whether you're doing four-color or something more Iron Age-ish. If one of your "lethal" characters kills a villain, are there social ramifications? Will they wind up being arrested for murder? Will it be ignored? Those sorts of questions will largely define how you need to play.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

The GM has said that the game world is going to be realistic in terms of how it treats things like superpowers, vigilantism, and lethal charachters. If your charachter publicly demonstrates a laser blast equiviliant to a tanks cannon, the various organizations that don't let private citizens run around with tanks will want words with you. Likewise, if you show up in tights and a cape and punch out muggers, you can be tried on vigiliantism. And yes, murder, should we killed a villian.

 

Of course, we can always try to get a "right to be super", work for the government, or just go "Nyeh! Were the good guys and have superpowers. What were you going to do about it exactly?" But those each have risks.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Well - does the group want to roleplay the consequences of the "decidedly lethal" characters or not?

 

If not I suggest changing the lethal ones

If so, then the internal strife of the group can make for excellent roleplaying; or hard feelings if you drag it away from the table.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

you are probably better off asking the lethal players to think about it if the gm is already saying logical consequences. That usually means he is going to hang the party together if one does something stupid.

 

Plus if you have two boy scouts and one of the lethal guys drops someone that almost always means the boy scouts will have to drop him.

 

If the group is good with that, go ahead. Usually it turns into a personal thing which wrecks the game.

 

CES

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

It doesn't have to be a problem. Sure, there'll be clashes, but it'd all be in-character. It looks like everybody's aim is still the same, "the greater good". It's just that they differ on the means to acheive it.

 

Do the "boyscout" types object to OTHER heroes using lethal force? They don't need to, they might just have personal codes against killing. Even if they do, it need not bring the campaign to a standstill... it can be a source of interpersonal complications which make roleplaying all that more interesting. Think Wolverine and the X-Men.

 

 

 

Have you ever read "JLA: Superpower?" In it, there is a new member of the JLA who comes to feel that the league should be more proactive in more decidedly political situations. At one point, he ends up killing a Sadam Huessein-type dictator (this was written in the late '90s), who was holding a gun to a child's head. When Superman confronts him about it, the new guy says "Somebody could have been killed." Superman replies "Someone was killed. And I have to believe that, as long as one of us is here, with all our power, that never has to happen." Just a thought.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Have you ever read "JLA: Superpower?" In it' date=' there is a new member of the JLA who comes to feel that the league should be more proactive in more decidedly political situations. At one point, he ends up killing a Sadam Huessein-type dictator (this was written in the late '90s), who was holding a gun to a child's head. When Superman confronts him about it, the new guy says "Somebody could have been killed." Superman replies "Someone was killed. And I have to believe that, as long as one of us is here, with all our power, that never has to happen." Just a thought.[/quote']

 

And it happened only once. Would it be in character for Superman to coninue associating with this character on an ongoing basis with no change to his methods or attitudes? Will the lethal characters in your group kill only when another innocent life is in imminent danger, minimizing the number of such incidents?

 

These types of character conflicts tend to have one of two results. First, the group explodes because the characters are incompatible. Second, characters get "Player Character" tattooed on their foreheads, such that the other PC's will look the other way and accept behaviour from the other PC's that they would never accept from any character who was not a PC. I consider that very poor role playing.

 

"Well, we need to torture this peasant for information. Someone send the Paladin out to water the horses while I heat up the branding irons" gets to be pretty stale pretty quickly.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Hey, I didn't say it was THE right way to play it. It's A way to play it, and it CAN work. Of course, it relies on the "boyscouts" having exclusively personal moral codes, which they CAN. It's perfectly viable, logical, playable, and conceivable that two "boyscout"-type characters dislike their buddies killing the villains, and refuse to kill, themselves, but do nothing more about it than setting up combat conditions to try to prevent deaths (non-lethally blasting those that appear to be near unconsciousness, for example), and mebbe a coupla snide remarks when they go out for a drink.

 

If the "boyscouts" decide they can't allow their buddies to kill, then it's a different story. This may very well be the case.

 

Also remember that the aim to playing this (and any other) game is to have fun. If "poor roleplaying" is necessary to maximize fun, then poor roleplaying it shall be. There's nothing wrong with playing Champions as if it were City of Heroes, if that's what's fun for you. =)

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Also remember that the aim to playing this (and any other) game is to have fun. If "poor roleplaying" is necessary to maximize fun' date=' then poor roleplaying it shall be. There's nothing wrong with playing Champions as if it were City of Heroes, if that's what's fun for you. =)[/quote']

 

Very true. My perspective is that, when I design my character to be a "boy scout" or a "real hero", rather than a "pragmatic realist" or a "vigilante as bad as the villains he fights" [classifications depend on PoV], I expect to play him as such. If he believes that killing is wrong, he will not look the other way because the killer is a PC. He will be played in accordance with his personality. The time to get characters modified so they will fit in and work well together in the ambit of the genre and tone of the campaign is before characters are designed and finalized, not when the game is running and MurderMan's nose is out of joint because Captain BoyScout treats him the same way he would treat any other murderer, not as a "fellow PC" whose actions must be tolerated simply due to that PC status.

 

Again, this comes back to discussing the campaign tone, and acceptable range of characters, with the GM and the other players to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that EVERYONE will have fun under the ground rules set by the group.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

The time to get characters modified so they will fit in and work well together in the ambit of the genre and tone of the campaign is before characters are designed and finalized [...]

 

I agree, mostly. I feel it's also possible to have characters go through shifts in their points of view, though... Let's say Hero Man, a "boyscout"-type hero, will not stand for fellow heroes killing villains, no matter what. After a couple of encounters where it's either kill the villain or allow innocents to die, he starts changing how he feels about this, possibly even starting an internal battle between pragmatism and the desire to acheive good ends, and a reluctance to compromise his moral values. (Maybe even changing that Code vs. Killing disadvantage to a "Will Sometimes Be Frozen By Indecision"?)

 

But yeah, I agree that it's best to have it all laid out clearly before sitting down and actually playing... it allows for the maximum amount of Fun . :)

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

I am not seeing the problem, here. The GM has said that killing people will have consequences.

 

So the tech-soldier and AI have to tone down their MOs for in-game reasons. If they are characters that would insist on killing when they could capture, they obviously don't belong on the team. The sponsor would not want them because of the hassles it would cause the team.

 

They can still have the lethal equipment, but they need to add a "normal damage" beam onto that blaster rifle, grenades that do things like NNDs and Sonic screams and normal damage explosions, and so forth. It sounds like the AI has to go out of his way to actually arrange to kill anyone, so put a First Law glitch in his programming and go to town.

 

The chance of killing someone is still there. It could come up. But it is not part of their usual operating procedure. Should not be a problem.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

I am not seeing the problem, here. The GM has said that killing people will have consequences.

 

So the tech-soldier and AI have to tone down their MOs for in-game reasons. If they are characters that would insist on killing when they could capture, they obviously don't belong on the team. The sponsor would not want them because of the hassles it would cause the team.

 

They can still have the lethal equipment, but they need to add a "normal damage" beam onto that blaster rifle, grenades that do things like NNDs and Sonic screams and normal damage explosions, and so forth. It sounds like the AI has to go out of his way to actually arrange to kill anyone, so put a First Law glitch in his programming and go to town.

 

The chance of killing someone is still there. It could come up. But it is not part of their usual operating procedure. Should not be a problem.

 

A lot depends on the exact personality of each character. I don't see Superman and the Punisher working well together, but tone down Superman's morality, and move the Punisher from a character who is driven to kill criminals to one who simply doesn't hold back to avoid any risk of killing criminals, and we have a much more reasonable team structure.

 

Something of an Aside: Does anyone remember the very old Legion story where Star Boy kills an opponent? There is a vote on whether he should be expelled. Superboy, Mon-El and Ultra Boy all vote "NO". Why? Because they are invulnerable, their lives are never at risk. They acknowledge that Star Boy doesn't enjoy that luxury, and had to make a split second decision while his own life was at risk.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

I agree' date=' mostly. I feel it's also possible to have characters go through shifts in their points of view, though... [/quote']

 

Absolutely. In-game events should cause characters to reassess their beliefs. I can recall a fairly frustrating moment in a D&D game which included a "happy go lucky rogue" and a "fire and brimstone" cleric. The cleric hated thieves, so he didn't like the rogue from the outset.

 

After 8 or so levels, however, it seemed reasonable the cleric might have some respect for the rogue, who had contributed greatly to the party's success, not to mention saving the cleric's life more than once. Nope. He was still a thief, so he was less than worthless.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

As the person planning to play Charles Dautton (I've been calling him "Changer") and a very infrequent visitor to the boards, imagine my surprise at finding this thread. :o

 

Anyway, I agree with allot of wats been said about this really being an issue of tone. the problem with working on these characters/concepts before the world is finalized is that it leads to this: different ideas of exactly how we're fitting into the world and how we should be in it. Now, if its understood that there will be consequences and the "lethal" characters are made with the intent of being a bit rougher and darker and being balanced by others on the team and to provide interesting tension and dynamics to the party/game thats fine. Its only if one guy comes in expecting four-color and another plans to nuke every hideout from orbit "just to be sure" that there are problems. I think when we all sit down and work out exactly who we are, where we are and how its starting, it'll resolve itself pretty quickly...one way or another.

 

 

Oh, and Charlie's freshman year of college was interupted by his recent origin story, so while he starts with a strong Code of honor, hes still new to having powers and impressionable to some degree. Just something to consider.

 

[edit]oh man, I didn't realize I'd been that much of a lurker. Congratulations JadeFox, on actually provoking me to my first post.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Have you ever read "JLA: Superpower?" In it' date=' there is a new member of the JLA who comes to feel that the league should be more proactive in more decidedly political situations. At one point, he ends up killing a Sadam Huessein-type dictator (this was written in the late '90s), who was holding a gun to a child's head. When Superman confronts him about it, the new guy says "Somebody could have been killed." Superman replies "Someone was killed. And I have to believe that, as long as one of us is here, with all our power, that never has to happen." Just a thought.[/quote']Wow, Superman is a bigger moron than I had pegged him for.

 

Just another reason I will never be a DC reader. CvK is just too stupid to imagine IMO.

 

TB

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Well, CVKs can range across a broad spectrum, from

"will never personally kill anyone nor permit/tolerate anyone else doing it either"

to

"will never personallly kill anyone but might tolerate someone else doing it as a last resort"

to

"will avoid killing except as a last resort and will tolerate others with similar standards"

to

"will avoid killing except as a last resort but will tolerate others with slightly looser standards"

to

"dislikes killing under most circumstances and will tolerate others with similar standards"

to

"will not kill unless it's the best/only option available, but will tolerate others with slightly looser standards"

 

 

It seems like the key is for the PCs to determine what their respective tolerances and standards are. If they are too far apart, someone's going to have to give some ground.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Wow, Superman is a bigger moron than I had pegged him for.

 

Just another reason I will never be a DC reader. CvK is just too stupid to imagine IMO.

 

TB

 

Not just stupid but too stupid to imagine? For that matter, if it is too stupid to imagine, how did you conceive of it sufficiently to decide that is was stupid at all? Very confusing.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

I liked "Superpower." The point wasn't "All killing is wrong ever", and that wasn't ultimately the problem the JLA had with Antaeus' actions.

 

The problem was, despite all his ( and their ) vast power, they are still only individual people. They aren't omnipotent, and they aren't omniscient. They are, however, wise enough to realize that trying to assume unlimited responsibility ( which is what you are doing when you decide to try and remake a country ) leaves you open to unlimited guilt if things go wrong. . . and for even JLA-powerful individual people, things will go wrong.

 

Antaeus' tragic flaw was that he had to save everybody, and when he found out that no matter what he did to himself, he would never be able to do so, it destroyed him.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

shadow pact recently had quite a good way of dealing with the teams differing responses to CVK

 

they came up with the three laws of super heroics based on Asimov's laws of robotics

 

 

first law the lives and safety of innocent by-standers should always be protected.

second law the lives and safety of you the super hero and your team will be protected except where it does not agree with the first law

 

third law the live and safety of the antagonist will be protected unless it conflicts with the other two laws

 

so you give your life to save the innocent but you only have to protect the villain if doing so does not endanger you or the innocent.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

shadow pact recently had quite a good way of dealing with the teams differing responses to CVK

 

they came up with the three laws of super heroics based on Asimov's laws of robotics

 

 

first law the lives and safety of innocent by-standers should always be protected.

second law the lives and safety of you the super hero and your team will be protected except where it does not agree with the first law

 

third law the live and safety of the antagonist will be protected unless it conflicts with the other two laws

 

so you give your life to save the innocent but you only have to protect the villain if doing so does not endanger you or the innocent.

 

lot of ambiguity left there, though. if most of the heroes don't have high persistent rDEF, then they could usually justify lethal force. if all the heroes do, they could rarely justify lethal force, unless the villain were an imminent threat to a normal and otherwise unable to effectively be stopped by non-lethal force.

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Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen

 

Actually, that set of laws is a little more extreme than it might at first sound. If followed strictly, it doesn't merely allow for not actively saving a villain when doing so would endanger a teammate or innocent. It *mandates* using lethal force upon the villain, if such is necessary to save an innocent or teammate.

 

Not that I find such an unreasonable set of rules, mind.

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