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Really quite crazy campaign idea....


Lev Lafayette
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And for my second post ever here...

 

I've been thinking about starting up a Champions game. I used to be quite into the Hero System in the late 80s and early 90s, ran several games (mainly Fantasy Hero), played in several others (mainly Champions) and, through a club, sponsored an annual Champions pit-bash.

 

Not so long ago I picked up 5th edition. Yes, I have the errata, yes I know there's a 5th ed revised and I believe there is a website around which has tracked the differences (thank goodness). I'm pleased that the game is still around although the differences between 4th and 5th are pretty minimal as far as I can tell...

 

But I do want to get into Hero System again.. and I have a crazy setting idea..

 

I have some AD&D products... No really, hear me out. This is really quite OK. You know the sort..

 

Deities & Demigods.... SpaceJammer.... Planescape..

 

Can you see where I'm going with this?

 

The PCs are demigods, Champions-level superheroes, in a Fantasy Earth environment, where they can all inhabit the appropriate divine realms according to their pantheon (none of that nonsense about realms being associated with alignment). With a common cause they cross their cultural boundaries (and step on some toes in their own hierarchy) to fight evil in earth or, worse still, on other divine realms.

 

Now there's all sorts of other potential plotlines (including this rather nasty thing called monotheism which is making the divine realms disappear!) but the question I have...

 

Well, what do you reckon?

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

This sounds reasonably similar to a campaign idea I'd posted on the boards a while back, and will get around to running someday... :)

 

Campaign "Name": The Younger Gods

 

Campaign Vitals: High-Powered Superheroic campaign with 500-point characters in a High Fantasy world; a Champions/Fantasy Hero hybrid.

 

Campaign Premise: The PCs are demigods in a High Fantasy world. The Creator fashioned the world and the peoples thereof, and gave it to his children -- The Elder Gods -- to care for. He then turned his vast attentions elsewhere.

 

But the Elder Gods were jealous of each other, and cared little for his world or its people. They did not do well by his Creation, gradually coming to use the world as a battleground for their disputes, and use its people as pawns in their quarrels. Mighty and terrible magics were unleashed during these eons, and many people and places were twisted into things they were never meant to be.

 

At last the Creator returned. Aghast at what his children had done, he bound them in the Netherworld, and turned care of his Creation over to The Younger Gods -- demigod offspring of Elder Gods and mortals. (For such was the jealousy of the Elder Gods, that none of them ever mated with each other.) The Creator hoped that The Younger Gods would care more for the world and its people, since they were of it themselves.

 

Many of the Younger Gods (i.e., the heroes) *do* care for the world and its people, and use their divine powers to protect them. Unfortunately, others (i.e., the villains) take more after the dark natures of their Elder God parents, and seek dominion or destruction.

 

Most of the Younger Gods are affiliated with people (such as races or clans), places (such as cities or perhaps small nations), or types of people (such as professions). The more heroic among them often form alliances to oppose the depredations of the more sinister Younger Gods. (And some of the more sinister Younger Gods form alliances -- albeit fractious ones -- to oppose their heroic cousins.)

 

As noted above, this is essentially Champions in a Fantasy Hero world. The Younger Gods (and the most powerful monsters and wizards) fill the same niche and power level as Superheroes and Villains in a standard Champions world. More typically Fantasy Hero-level characters, such as "average" wizards and monsters,

mighty warriors, etc., fill the niche of agents and other lower-powered minions.

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

And for my second post ever here...

 

I've been thinking about starting up a Champions game. I used to be quite into the Hero System in the late 80s and early 90s, ran several games (mainly Fantasy Hero), played in several others (mainly Champions) and, through a club, sponsored an annual Champions pit-bash.

 

Not so long ago I picked up 5th edition. Yes, I have the errata, yes I know there's a 5th ed revised and I believe there is a website around which has tracked the differences (thank goodness). I'm pleased that the game is still around although the differences between 4th and 5th are pretty minimal as far as I can tell...

 

But I do want to get into Hero System again.. and I have a crazy setting idea..

 

I have some AD&D products... No really, hear me out. This is really quite OK. You know the sort..

 

Deities & Demigods.... SpaceJammer.... Planescape..

 

Can you see where I'm going with this?

 

The PCs are demigods, Champions-level superheroes, in a Fantasy Earth environment, where they can all inhabit the appropriate divine realms according to their pantheon (none of that nonsense about realms being associated with alignment). With a common cause they cross their cultural boundaries (and step on some toes in their own hierarchy) to fight evil in earth or, worse still, on other divine realms.

 

Now there's all sorts of other potential plotlines (including this rather nasty thing called monotheism which is making the divine realms disappear!) but the question I have...

 

Well, what do you reckon?

 

Sounds reasonable...you might take a look at Atlantis...as I understand it, it's a high fantasy/ super heros setting so it might have some good ideas to grab...

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

If you can lay your hands on it, read Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. In general terms, it revolves around a generation-ship crew who have used tech to enhance latent psychic abilities and set themselves up as a pantheon of gods based on the Hindu gods -- Vishnu, Kali, Yama and so forth -- over their colonists. The conflict is between those who want to carry on with the status quo, and those who want to wean the populace off their religious subjugation and nudge them back towards technological civilization.

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

Sounds very interesting. What Bad Guys were you thinking of using?

 

Hmmm.. The initial themes would involve the good guys developing some sort of universal moral reasoning that transcended cultural contexts; so they would initially operate against crueler members of their own pantheon. There may even be an international legion of bad guys as well. After a while they may have to deal with the notion of freedom among the human subjects who would rather the gods just backed off a bit..

 

If you can lay your hands on it' date=' read Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny.[/quote']

 

Oh yes, one of my favourite books in that genre.. Along with Creatures of Light and Darkness.

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

If you can lay your hands on it' date=' read [i']Lord of Light[/i] by Roger Zelazny. In general terms, it revolves around a generation-ship crew who have used tech to enhance latent psychic abilities and set themselves up as a pantheon of gods based on the Hindu gods -- Vishnu, Kali, Yama and so forth -- over their colonists. The conflict is between those who want to carry on with the status quo, and those who want to wean the populace off their religious subjugation and nudge them back towards technological civilization.

Dude...read it just because it is freakin awesome!

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

I ran a Champions scenario like that about 25 years ago; where the superhero team got transported to my old D&D world.

 

It was a lot of fun as the heroes learned that sometimes magic trumped even superpowers. They ended up traversing half a continent on foot as they searched for a legendary magic sword that could hopefully return them home.

 

Two particularly fun items I recall from the adventure:

 

1) Our high DEF powered armor guy Ranger got several ribs cracked when he got hit by an enchanted club wielded by a Storm Giant. (I decided before the adventure started that any magic weapon was Armor Piercing or Penetrating by default). IIRC Ranger took about 5 BODY and 30 Stun from that hit after defenses.

 

2) The team was pursued across half the length of the continent by an Iron Golem - sent after them by an evil magic user wanted to capture them and steal their powers - which they couldn't hurt because they lacked magical weaponry (there weren't even any magic-based heroes on the team). They could only outrun it or maybe delay it as it relentlessly hunted them.

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

As well as Lord of Light I recommend Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. It has a few funny moments, but it's mostly a thoughtful work, considering the nature of gods, religion, human, and ethics. A very profound work.

 

Of course, if your players are not interested in thinking about the nature of the characters they will be playing, skip it. NO, wait, do not skip it; read it for its own sake.

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

Not so long ago I picked up 5th edition. Yes' date=' I have the errata, yes I know there's a 5th ed revised and I believe there is a website around which has tracked the differences (thank goodness). I'm pleased that the game is still around although the differences between 4th and 5th are pretty minimal as far as I can tell...[/quote']

 

Got that change-tracking webpage right here: http://theemerged.blogspot.com/HERO425.htm

 

You might also want to look up the extensive Rules FAQ from time to time: http://www.herogames.com/rulesFAQ.htm . It has entries for both Fifth Edition and Revised, and the former would give you most of the rules clarifications and additions that were incorporated into Revised. I never picked up 5ER myself, and I do all right. ;)

 

As for the campaign concept, it seems quite workable to me. Since superheroic and heroic-level HERO games use essentially the same ruleset, it's easy to mix characters drawn from both genres. If the primary focus of the campaign is on the demi-gods, and foes with the power to face them, it should run a lot like regular supers, just with a different style and flavor.

 

A number of concepts have worked their way into the official Hero Universe that might be compatible with what you want to do. Would you like to hear about them, or do you have a clear idea of how you want to proceed?

 

And by the way, Welcome! Nice to see you on our little corner of the gaming Internet. :)

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

Got that change-tracking webpage right here: http://theemerged.blogspot.com/HERO425.htm

 

You might also want to look up the extensive Rules FAQ from time to time: http://www.herogames.com/rulesFAQ.htm . It has entries for both Fifth Edition and Revised, and the former would give you most of the rules clarifications and additions that were incorporated into Revised. I never picked up 5ER myself, and I do all right. ;)

 

Thank you very much for that first URL. That will prove useful to me. I already knew about the second URL, but a reminder never hurts. :)

 

Could someone do me a small favor and give Lord Liaden some reputation? I don't have any to give...

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

Got that change-tracking webpage right here: http://theemerged.blogspot.com/HERO425.htm

 

You'll be delighted to know that I read that webpage before joining this forum :D

 

(Reputation added)

 

If the primary focus of the campaign is on the demi-gods, and foes with the power to face them, it should run a lot like regular supers, just with a different style and flavor.

 

Sure, that's the idea. I still have Mythic Greece and Mythic Egypt to work from as well.

 

 

A number of concepts have worked their way into the official Hero Universe that might be compatible with what you want to do. Would you like to hear about them, or do you have a clear idea of how you want to proceed?

 

Yes please, that would be helpful. At the moment I just have some pretty wild and woolly concepts and some oddball supplements (except for the Hero System rules of course!) I still have a couple of other campaigns that need completion. My RuneQuest game will take at least another year, as will my HeroQuest campaign, as will my Powers & Perils campaign..

 

And by the way, Welcome! Nice to see you on our little corner of the gaming Internet. :)

 

Delighted to meet all of you!

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Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

Yes please' date=' that would be helpful. At the moment I just have some pretty wild and woolly concepts and some oddball supplements (except for the Hero System rules of course!) I still have a couple of other campaigns that need completion. My [i']RuneQuest[/i] game will take at least another year, as will my HeroQuest campaign, as will my Powers & Perils campaign.

 

I apologise for not getting back to you sooner, LL (great, now there's two of us). ;) I kind of lost track of this thread, but I do want to offer some assistance. Let me throw some of those Hero Universe concepts at you, see if any tickle your fancy.

 

According to the official Hero Universe timeline, in very ancient times (circa 100,000 - 75,000 BCE) the gods of Earth evolved and walked the world freely, meddling with mankind and each other. This led to conflicts between them, and ultimately to the shattering of the primeval world. Fearing to destroy the humans whose worship sustains them, the gods agreed to withdraw from the Earth, only acting indirectly through agents.

 

Earth's gods dwell today, and presumably in the past, in an "imaginal realm" on the Astral Plane adjacent to Earth, known as Faerie or The Land of Legends. Faeirie was created out of human imagination, and contains all the supernatural creatures of every widespread belief in the world, past and present. All the major pantheons rule their own districts of Faerie, although their territory and power reflects the numbers of their worshippers, or at least those who remember them, on Earth.

 

There are other imaginal realms, including the Netherworld (all the hells ever conceived of); Elysium, home of the deities of the "ethical" religions such as Christianity and Buddhism (note that these aren't the "real" godheads, just popular conceptions of them, e.g. Jehovah/Yahweh/Allah as a stern, bearded patriarch); and Babylon, all the real and imagined cities of man as they're most strongly remembered (imperial Rome, Arabian Nights Baghdad, Victorian London, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, etc.)

 

In the Hero Universe magic waxes and wanes over time, which leads to eras of powerful sorcerors, supernatural monsters, or (in the modern era) superhumans, or eras when magical wonders are rare and legendary creatures withdraw from the world or hide and sleep until magic rises again.

 

Around the Sixth Century BCE, several "ethical" religions and philosophies began to emerge (e.g. Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism) which viewed the gods as more the embodiment of principles rather than humanly-flawed beings; and held them to exist beyond the mundanely perceivable world. This perception led to what's called The Ban, preventing the mythic gods from passing freely to the earthly realm. (Ironically, the ethical gods also suffered the effects of the Ban, minimizing their direct involvement in earthly affairs.) The recent rise of magic which led to the modern Age of Superhumans also weakened the Ban enough for gods to make limited intrusions into this world.

 

There's actually a great deal more to the occult cosmology of the Hero Universe -- it's pretty broadly developed. Most of it is detailed in the Champions supplement, The Mystic World, including the different "planes" of the Multiverse, the major dimension lords, conceptual entities, Lovecraftian horrors, as well as mystically significant sites on Earth, major groups an power players, how magic functions, and so on. If that sort of thing interests you it's probably the best "oddball supplement" for that purpose.

 

OTOH if you'd like a ready-made HERO fantasy world where gods frequent the mortal realm, demigods are not uncommon, and even mortals have access to awesomely-powerful magic, The Atlantean Age sourcebook presents a rather Classical Greek-themed Earth when Atlantis was the dominant power of the globe, although Lemuria was their greatest imperial rival. Characters in that era can certainly achieve levels of power rivalling almost any modern superhuman.

 

Anything else I might suggest would depend on what interests you, so I'll hold off until you can provide more details. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Re: Really quite crazy campaign idea....

 

I apologise for not getting back to you sooner' date=' LL (great, now there's two of us). ;) I kind of lost track of this thread, but I do want to offer some assistance. Let me throw some of those Hero Universe concepts at you, see if any tickle your fancy.[/quote']

 

I have apologies of my own, given that I've been away for a couple of weeks in NZ. :)

 

Around the Sixth Century BCE, several "ethical" religions and philosophies began to emerge (e.g. Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism) which viewed the gods as more the embodiment of principles rather than humanly-flawed beings; and held them to exist beyond the mundanely perceivable world. This perception led to what's called The Ban, preventing the mythic gods from passing freely to the earthly realm. (Ironically, the ethical gods also suffered the effects of the Ban, minimizing their direct involvement in earthly affairs.) The recent rise of magic which led to the modern Age of Superhumans also weakened the Ban enough for gods to make limited intrusions into this world.

 

Bingo. Sixth century BCE would be ideal. Heck, I could import a whole lot of RuneQuest bronze age themes as well..

 

There's actually a great deal more to the occult cosmology of the Hero Universe -- it's pretty broadly developed. Most of it is detailed in the Champions supplement, The Mystic World, including the different "planes" of the Multiverse, the major dimension lords, conceptual entities, Lovecraftian horrors, as well as mystically significant sites on Earth, major groups an power players, how magic functions, and so on. If that sort of thing interests you it's probably the best "oddball supplement" for that purpose.

 

OK, I'll get hold of that. Thanks for the ideas/references!

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