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What is Happening with Dark Champions?


Deadman
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Based on forum activity I have noticed a marked decline in the number of people that seem to be playing the Dark Champions genre. I have a hard time believing that people have all of a sudden lost their appetite for Guns and Violence. Is this due to Herogames' lack of support for the genre or some other reason that I am not seeing? My group has been playing a Dark Champions campaign for nearly six years now and it is the most successful game we have ever had.

 

Speaking of support for Dark Champions, is there any plan to revive the genre? Perhaps renaming it "Action Hero" or something else and updating the genre book and perhaps the Hudson City sourcebook?

 

I am looking for similar publications from other companies but I really haven't found a whole lot. Most of the stuff I see is either Near Future, Post Apocalyptic or Urban Fantasy. Can anyone suggest a good setting or system for Vigilante style play in modern times. Not to replace Dark Champions, as I love using the Hero System for this genre, but to supplement it.

 

My campaign is essentially a mix of Batman and the Punisher with some Boondock Saints thrown in for good measure. No superpowers exist but we make extensive use of Non-powered powers and semi-realistic Equipment.

 

Thanks for your help,

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

Are you the same Deadman that has the Hudson City Chaos site?

 

It is a very cool site. I would love to take a peek at a few of your write ups for some of the bad guys in your background. Particularily the Muffin man.

 

I basically took your premise edited it a bit and started up a DC game of my own. There are "powers" i.e. super powers in the universe but I am running the game very street level super. So it is closer to a Dark Champions game than a super game.

 

Oddly enough none of my players made character with "powers". They are either all skill based or have gadgets.

 

I am fairly new to the boards myself and I noticed the lack of DC stuff as well.

 

I did come accross some Millenium`s End books a while ago. I have been looking to those to help run my other Dark Champion game. It is an action movie style game. I call it my Martial arts shoot'em up.

 

Dave

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

Just a few days ago, Steve mentioned this:

 

We'll get around to it at some point -- in fact, it's an easy enough re-do that we could put it on the schedule pretty much anytime (it wouldn't need to be the Big Summer Release). I've actually done a little work on it already, in fact. The biggest stumbling block is having to update the chapter on organized crime; that will take some work.

 

I'd say 2013 is probably a good bet right now. Ask me again after our February planning meeting and schedule announcement. ;)

 

As for other sourcebooks, have you considered anything from the silver line of SpyCraft books from Crafty Games? For their second edition, they had a "World on Fire" campaign that looked interesting.

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

Are you the same Deadman that has the Hudson City Chaos site?

 

It is a very cool site. I would love to take a peek at a few of your write ups for some of the bad guys in your background. Particularily the Muffin man.

 

I basically took your premise edited it a bit and started up a DC game of my own. There are "powers" i.e. super powers in the universe but I am running the game very street level super. So it is closer to a Dark Champions game than a super game.

 

Oddly enough none of my players made character with "powers". They are either all skill based or have gadgets.

 

I am fairly new to the boards myself and I noticed the lack of DC stuff as well.

 

I did come accross some Millenium`s End books a while ago. I have been looking to those to help run my other Dark Champion game. It is an action movie style game. I call it my Martial arts shoot'em up.

 

Dave

Thanks Dave, I never intended the site for public consumption but I am glad that it has been of use to you. Now that I know someone is using it I may publish some of the other things from the campaign.

 

As to your request for the bad guys...I also borrowed the premise and introduction from a PBEM I was in. So most of them I haven't written up and probably won't until I need to use them.

 

I have also looked into Millenium's End but found it to be more Top Secretish than Vigilante related. That said, I have borrowed a few things from it.

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

I have also found all the Marvel RPG supplements online. You can get some neat inspiration from them. I would also look into Villians and Vigilantes. There are a bunch of fan sites. They have a bunch of character write-ups that can work well. I have also come across a bunch of DC RPG books. They are not as helpful though for a street level Dark Champions game.

 

The classic Hudson City Blues adventure supplement is excellent.

 

My players want more masks in the game so I am going to try and get some inspiration from Batman`s Rogues gallery. I plan on swapping out HERO system write-ups of the various villians. For instance the Black Harlequin is basically the Joker.

 

Dave

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

Just a few days ago, Steve mentioned this:

 

 

 

As for other sourcebooks, have you considered anything from the silver line of SpyCraft books from Crafty Games? For their second edition, they had a "World on Fire" campaign that looked interesting.

Thanks for the lead on Steve's post and the heads up on SpyCraft, I will have to check those out.

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

I think what you're seeing is twofold. A lot of people use Hero for Champions, and are specifically trying to get away from grit. Those of us who want it are no longer bothering to identify their campaigns as such, because Dark Champions has simply become one of the tools we use so often that we stop thinking of it as a genre. For me, it's something that can be usefully applied to nearly any campaign, and I treat it as such.

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

I can see that point. I suppose the question for me is: Is there enough interest in RPG gamse for just masked vigilante games? I haven't seen much. If they have a costume of some kind the game ends up being lumped in with superheroe games. For one of my groups the martial arts action movie or stuff closer to Danger International has been more popular. Or better put we use HERO system to play action movie type games because it can give us the "realism" we want with a flare for the cinematic.

 

Dave

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada. About 30 minutes by Bus from downtown Vancouer, BC not Washington. Damnit.

 

How is Vancoucer, Washington, United States crossroads between the Rockies and the Prairies.

 

QM

 

Given that we're nowhere neither either the Rockies, Prairies or the roads that cross them, perfectly fine. Plenty of places I'd like to visit, but nowhere I'd rather live. And if you feel like traveling 300 miles to game, let me know.

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

SpideyDave

 

Go to Storn's art post. There are a ton of characters to use for vigilante/villians in a Dark Champions game. I have downloaded so many to re-create for my own games that it would take me a year to stat and orgin them all.

Plus any of the art posts can give you inspiration. I also go to Mutants & Masterminds Atomic Think Tank Drawing board. Pages of art from guys working in the biz and others just showing off their talents. So much to look at and make up to get your players.

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

I think part of the problem is that Dark Champions means different things to different people. To many, it means agents and private eyes and few or no super powers. To me, it is all about the tone, and has zero to do with the power level.

 

My main campaign world has the standard superhero power level. Most villains and about 50% of the heroes wear a regular uniform or costume. They are as likely to fight supervillains as aliens, robots, or agents. So, the Champions forum seems the right place to hang out. On the other hand, the world is a dark place - closer to Shadowrun than Superman. Bad guys are winning, and the government isn't helping much. I enforce a tighter coupling with reality and physics than is the norm- no invulnerability to model being a writer's favorite or valuable trademark. People are expected to die on a regular basis. Code vs killing is discouraged, not expected. It's not about being a "hero", but living in a world where super powers exist. Based on this, Dark Champions is a better fit.

 

I'd love to see more support, books, etc, but I'm afraid all I'd get is yet another rules book, mostly concentrating on running SHIELD, Daredevil, and Jackie Chan. An Action Hero book would be great. But I'm more interested in a campaign sourcebook that shows how to play superheroes in something other than a golden or silver age manner. Forget the rules (heresy, I know), I want ideas/advice/new settings/etc. And when this is done, do the same for the opposite end of the spectrum - Zena, Hercules, and He-Man.

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

I think part of the problem is that Dark Champions means different things to different people. To many, it means agents and private eyes and few or no super powers. To me, it is all about the tone, and has zero to do with the power level.

 

My main campaign world has the standard superhero power level. Most villains and about 50% of the heroes wear a regular uniform or costume. They are as likely to fight supervillains as aliens, robots, or agents. So, the Champions forum seems the right place to hang out. On the other hand, the world is a dark place - closer to Shadowrun than Superman. Bad guys are winning, and the government isn't helping much. I enforce a tighter coupling with reality and physics than is the norm- no invulnerability to model being a writer's favorite or valuable trademark. People are expected to die on a regular basis. Code vs killing is discouraged, not expected. It's not about being a "hero", but living in a world where super powers exist. Based on this, Dark Champions is a better fit.

 

I'd love to see more support, books, etc, but I'm afraid all I'd get is yet another rules book, mostly concentrating on running SHIELD, Daredevil, and Jackie Chan. An Action Hero book would be great. But I'm more interested in a campaign sourcebook that shows how to play superheroes in something other than a golden or silver age manner. Forget the rules (heresy, I know), I want ideas/advice/new settings/etc. And when this is done, do the same for the opposite end of the spectrum - Zena, Hercules, and He-Man.

I think that you are on to something. It seems that the definition of "Dark Champions" is somewhat muddled by the multiple genres that are encompassed within it. I think that most people think of DC as the side of Champions that deals with Batman, The Punisher and Daredevil. Heroes (or Anti-Heroes) who patrol the streets and don't necessarily take part in the large scale escapades of their flying, energy blasting, cape wearing bretheren. Most gamers seem unaware that DC also incorporates the A-Team, 007 and Jason Bourne. I personally feel that much of this is due to the name and the future release should be more generic (like other products such as Fantasy Hero and Pulp Hero). Something like Action Hero would be perfect. From that point, supplements could be created that deal with the various sub-genres (e.g. Espionage, Vigilantes, Super Agents, etc.).

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

I always associated DC with stuff like Sin City and, oddly, early TMNT (the comic, which was very dark at times). Blade Runner would also make a great world to run a DC campaign in, with or without Replicants.

 

But you're right, in that DC is seen as a cross-genre sourcebook rather than something like Star Hero or Fantasy Hero, which provide much more specific information that doesn't cross-pollenate as well as DC. In a very real way, this is because DC is a much richer and stronger source of material than the narrow-genre books. Nothing against them, but I think of DC as almost a core rulebook, whereas the others are not.

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

I disagree. It is fine that you see the Dark Champions supplement a certain way. But there is no confusion. The Dark Champions genre supplement states that it includes Masked vigilantes and the like. It also includes cops and robbers along with spies and action heroes.

 

When I hear the term Dark Champions on a personal note my mind goes to images of masks and capes not spies like Jason Bourne. Don't get me wrong though I run a modern day martial arts shoot'em up using many of the rules from Dark Champions because more simply put it is meant to support gritty modern action.

 

Dave

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Re: What is Happening with Dark Champions?

 

I disagree. It is fine that you see the Dark Champions supplement a certain way. But there is no confusion.

 

But there is. You're completely right, it DOES include those things. I never said they were WRONG. But that is the first and typically ONLY thing they think of and they have to be reminded of the other aspects. I would say that the majority of the content, however, FAVORS the action/espionage level more so than the Green Arrow and Batman types. It has enough for everyone, but can you imagine arming mooks casually with the weapons offered, using Hit Locations, and trying to run a Batman type? He doesn't wear a lot of armor and one headshot and he's gone. That's a different genre convention than if things are quite that lethal for a dark CHAMPIONS bit.

 

I'm not sure if I'm being clear. Headache probably contributes to that.

 

I guess what it boils down to is that the mistake that is often made is that it's seen as an offshoot or extension of CHAMPIONS, yet it's really not. It's drastically different in tone, playstyle, mechanics typically involved, and many players have never even played CHAMPIONS. So Dark Champions to them means something quite different as a default.

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