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Jason S.Walters

Champions Now Information

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I'm almost on board with this project. But I'm inclined to agree with Spence that it's more of what we've already seen. I think I can get a lot more useful advice out of Aaron Allston's Strike Force reissue, which was truly a brilliant idea.

 

I think we can all agree that 3e was quicker and easier to play, and has a lot of appeal because of that. What I'm curious about, though, is how to offer these quick and fluid character creation suggestions to 6e. If we go to 3e to avoid the crunchiness of 6e, I'm really interested in hearing time-tested advice on how to cut through the endless detail to create beginning characters and encounters in 6e the way we used to in 3e. In all honesty, I think the character creation cards were a brilliant Kickstarter idea. I'd like to see someone do what Ron is planning, but using the cc cards in 6e.

 

I looked at the beta documents, and Ron seems like a really interesting guy, and I'd love to see more of what he does. But this particular project seems to fall a little flat for me. Perhaps if there's a more explicit goal here (applying storytelling techniques to Champions), and a clearer plan of what it entails, it'll make for a less confusing KS offering. It seems like with a little more refinement (and maybe a better outline of what the goal is), I'd be all over backing this.

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8 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

Ron and I had a video conversation via Discord over the weekend.  We talked a little about Endurance; that portion is here.  (I promise, in real life I do more than just go "yeah, yeah", and it was early Sunday for me so my resting grump face was in full force.)

 

This is an interesting video! It seems to hint at what he's shooting for in the Kickstarter. But I'm still left guessing a little bit.

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2 minutes ago, starblaze said:

Are you going to be running this at any Cons in the near future?

 

THIS!!! This is a great idea. I think a few cons would be a better way to create a buzz, both for indie gamers and for folks interested in Champions. It seems like it could actually create an interest in Champions with the growing numbers of idie gamers out there . . . .

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As noted by others, this is going to look like 6E is being dumped (to the extent that, it not being in print and thus very difficult for new gamers to discover, isn't already considered a dead product line) even if that's not the intent.

 

I am disappointed there isn't a pledge just for the 3E, Champions II, and Champions III pdfs (with errata, preferably, since that's not specified in the kickstarter). I would think there'd some interest in that.

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Well, I wish it all success, but I'll be passing.

 

I really haven't been doing much of anything with Hero even though Champs is my favorite RPG

 

Pretty much the only gaming I do now is with fully supported systems.  And by fully supported, I mean systems that put out pre-built adventures.   I only know 2 people that are running anything homebrew, and one of them is running a full on crawl.  The primary reason is ee all work full time and most have family obligations.  Limited free time.

 

So I am playing in a D&D 5th league game and when I run itbis usually a GUMSHOE or Call of Cthulhu scenario. 

 

I love to run mystery/investigation games and have been working on a Supers campaign for a while.  But constructing a investigatve based campaign is detail intensive.  Once I complete the spine and enough side branches to a viable level, I'll decide on game system and begin plugging in Villians and stat'ing them out. 

 

But for now I really do not need yet another ruleset or yet anothet advice document. 

 

What I need in a gaming product is self contained general adventures that can played stand alone or pluged into a campaign if I ever start having enough time to actually write/run one again. 

 

Pretty much every successful RPG found in full distribution in actual stores have full lines of adventures.  The local FLGS's can't keep them in stock. 

 

For me I will have to shift my attention and funds to games I will actually have a realistic expectation of playing.  Ones with not just rulesets, but also a solid support in adventures/scenarios.

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On 6/20/2018 at 5:46 AM, Ninja-Bear said:

Spence I have some other thoughts on your second to last paragraph. However, this isn’t the proper thread, perhaps we should start another thread?

 

Sure. 

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On 6/20/2018 at 7:46 AM, Ninja-Bear said:

Spence I have some other thoughts on your second to last paragraph. However, this isn’t the proper thread, perhaps we should start another thread?

 

Care to share as I’d be interested in that discussion. 

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12 minutes ago, Kevlyn said:

 

Care to share as I’d be interested in that discussion. 

 

Agreed, as I'd like to understand the POV expressed here, as it is the exact opposite of how I feel. I have not ever, in my 40 years of gaming, enjoyed a pre-built adventure, and certainly never used anything more than a rough outline from one, like "Road Kill" for a one off "not everyone showed up for the game" type of thing. 

 

To me, the experience of a game evolving and being defined "during play" is the real enjoyment I get... not spending massive time trying to create everything beforehand. Entirely different philosophies of gaming, so I'd like to read more about what is being expressed here. 

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I started a thread on "indie" games here, with the idea of investigating why Champions/HERO System isn't presenting itself to the younger "indie" crowd. Setting aside what "indie" actually means, I think it should be considered an indie game. I wondered if it could be shown to a new generation with this in mind, and if perhaps this is what Ron Edwards might actually be tapping into.

 

The news announcement, Why Now Champions Now, seems to reinforce that question. I've now reconsidered backing the project because any exposure is better than none! And if people discover it at Indie Press Revolution while scanning for Fate or some other popular game, so much the better.

 

I'll save the problem of why it's not based on Champions Complete for another time. 

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On 6/19/2018 at 3:36 AM, randian said:

As noted by others, this is going to look like 6E is being dumped (to the extent that, it not being in print and thus very difficult for new gamers to discover, isn't already considered a dead product line) even if that's not the intent.

 

 

 

That is chief among the reasons I honestly hope that it doesn't meet funding. It will be bad for the Hero system, not good.

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On June 19, 2018 at 4:36 AM, randian said:

As noted by others, this is going to look like 6E is being dumped (to the extent that, it not being in print and thus very difficult for new gamers to discover, isn't already considered a dead product line) even if that's not the intent.

 

I am disappointed there isn't a pledge just for the 3E, Champions II, and Champions III pdfs (with errata, preferably, since that's not specified in the kickstarter). I would think there'd some interest in that.

 

At the $15 pledge (or more) you do get those classic PDFs plus the new Now PDF too. That seems like a very reasonable price just for the original stuff. If your physical books are as worn from use as mine are, having the PDFs is a great thing. Consider pledging $15 just to get those. 

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I literally just watched the dial spin to take the pledge over 18,000... so we are really close.

 

I'm also posting here, as I've messaged and posted on Kickstarter as well... I was looking to up my pledge by 30 bucks to get an extra copy of the book... but I can't figure out how to actually do that. There is no "Add 30 dollars to existing pledge" option as far as I can tell, though a message there says you can do it.


Thoughts? What am I missing?

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What I'd really love to see here is some real conversation from people who have backed the project as to WHY. For me, my WHY (and what I'm most excited about) is manifold:
I'm excited to see new Champions material,
I'm excited to have Ron Edwards and Steven S. Long collaborating on the project.
I'm excited to playtest the games' new concepts and give feedback to the process. I don't agree with everything said, so far, about specific rules and whatnot, but HELL folks, it CHAMPIONS. Who ever agreed with everything in a role-playing game?
I'm really excited to see how Ron's concepts of the Speed Chart as a story creation tool, and as a tool for visualizing panels in a comic book will work.
Those are some of my excitements, what about yours? There's more than 500 people backing this thing. Surely you folks are excited about SOMETHING.

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You can click "Manage Your Pledge", which takes you to your pledge level, and a "Change Your Pledge" button.  That opens up your pledge with a space you can enter a new amount.  

 

Jason has run enough Kickstarters that I know he's savvy enough to know that an extra $30 means another book.

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22 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

You can click "Manage Your Pledge", which takes you to your pledge level, and a "Change Your Pledge" button.  That opens up your pledge with a space you can enter a new amount.  

 

Jason has run enough Kickstarters that I know he's savvy enough to know that an extra $30 means another book.

 

Ok... I did that... but if I don't get that second book, you own me one, Chris!   :P 

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The "why" for me is a couple things:

- I am long time friends with Ron (thanks to the Champions APA the Clobberin' Times) and Steve (we gamed together many times in the 90's).  I support my buds.

- I played mostly with 4th edition but have very fond memories of the earlier ones (much of my world was built on the early rules from 1 to 3). I did not go to Fuzion or 5th edition as at that time I moved away from RPGs.

- I am startzing to get back in to RPGs again as I want to promote them via programming as I finish my librarian master's degree. I think teens (and adults) could really benefit from these kinds of games. 

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2 hours ago, Starshield said:
What I'd really love to see here is some real conversation from people who have backed the project as to WHY. For me, my WHY (and what I'm most excited about) is manifold:
I'm excited to see new Champions material,
I'm excited to have Ron Edwards and Steven S. Long collaborating on the project.
I'm excited to playtest the games' new concepts and give feedback to the process. I don't agree with everything said, so far, about specific rules and whatnot, but HELL folks, it CHAMPIONS. Who ever agreed with everything in a role-playing game?
I'm really excited to see how Ron's concepts of the Speed Chart as a story creation tool, and as a tool for visualizing panels in a comic book will work.
Those are some of my excitements, what about yours? There's more than 500 people backing this thing. Surely you folks are excited about SOMETHING.

 

I'm excited that my favorite edition of the game will be coming back, in at least some form.  I had a lot of unhappiness ranging from minor to major with 4th edition, and some unsatisfying play experiences with it, including in some cases with the same people as with previous editions.  I've been following Ron Edwards' blog posts on Champions for quite a while, but had already come to a lot of the same conclusions he had.  

 

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4 hours ago, Starshield said:
What I'd really love to see here is some real conversation from people who have backed the project as to WHY. For me, my WHY (and what I'm most excited about) is manifold:
I'm excited to see new Champions material,
I'm excited to have Ron Edwards and Steven S. Long collaborating on the project.
I'm excited to playtest the games' new concepts and give feedback to the process. I don't agree with everything said, so far, about specific rules and whatnot, but HELL folks, it CHAMPIONS. Who ever agreed with everything in a role-playing game?
I'm really excited to see how Ron's concepts of the Speed Chart as a story creation tool, and as a tool for visualizing panels in a comic book will work.
Those are some of my excitements, what about yours? There's more than 500 people backing this thing. Surely you folks are excited about SOMETHING.

 

My "why's were posted on the front, in response to the News article this week about backing. Essentially, I'm interested in seeing how modern game design (emphasis on play and narrative) can be applied to Champions through someone like Ron, who was/is at the forefront of such thought and design. I've made a lot of changes to my use of Hero over the years, mainly downplaying anything overtly mechanical and gamist, and layering in narrative mechanics like bennies/story chits/director stance things on top of what I like about the system.

 

I like Hero for the 3d6 roll and task resolution functionality. I like the skills, skill levels, combat maneuvers, martial arts... because they make for very detailed and nuanced fight scenes that are dramatic/cinematic and descriptive. I like "reason from effect" to a point. I like the Characteristics, especially now that they are not "figured"

 

I dislike the point buy system as it has evolved. It has become a programming language appealing to folks who "run the math" and try to "program the perfect character" and has no emphasis on actual play. It has developed an over-engineered philosophy of deconstructing everything into so many subcategories for skills abilities that are just the player demonstrating their research or personal knowledge (Let me list the 49 things a lawyer actually knows... vs. Lawyer 13-) that it has become pedantic. Hero ultimately became much better at 'Heroic level' games than Supers, where it started, because deconstructing and systematizing superheroes just serves to point out all the silly, stupid inconsistencies in most superhero concepts and stories.

 

I'm hoping for some really cutting edge concepts in non-traditional Hero mechanics... example: where Endurance is a matter of constant, incremental adding and subtracting now, I'm hoping for mechanics actually about the in play dramatic effects of "going all out" and exhausting your character, etc.

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6 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

I'm excited that my favorite edition of the game will be coming back, in at least some form.  I had a lot of unhappiness ranging from minor to major with 4th edition, and some unsatisfying play experiences with it, including in some cases with the same people as with previous editions.  I've been following Ron Edwards' blog posts on Champions for quite a while, but had already come to a lot of the same conclusions he had.  

 

 

Interesting... as I loved 4th Edition for its internal consistency... allowing for much less problems at the table and in character construction... though I'd loved 1-3 leading up to it. It just seemed the logical, over-arching concepts finally clicked into place with 4th. I hated where it went in 5th... never ever used the Fuzion stuff... and really only like 6th for the removal of figured characteristics.

 

My perfect Hero system (barring some massively new narrative stuff I've never seen before from Ron in the new stuff) is 4th Ed with non-figured characteristics.


Would be interested in your exact problems with 4th that you didn't have earlier?

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1 hour ago, RDU Neil said:

 

Interesting... as I loved 4th Edition for its internal consistency... allowing for much less problems at the table and in character construction... though I'd loved 1-3 leading up to it. It just seemed the logical, over-arching concepts finally clicked into place with 4th. I hated where it went in 5th... never ever used the Fuzion stuff... and really only like 6th for the removal of figured characteristics.

 

My perfect Hero system (barring some massively new narrative stuff I've never seen before from Ron in the new stuff) is 4th Ed with non-figured characteristics.


Would be interested in your exact problems with 4th that you didn't have earlier?

 

In my case, it was the internal consistency that was the problem.  

 

Champions, 3rd edition, was a different game from Danger International and from Fantasy Hero, 1st edition.  To me, it was fine that they had different sets of rules.  For the most part, perfectly compatible; a lot of the optional dials-and-switches type rules in 4th through 6th editions are almost word-for-word identical to their first-gen counterparts.  

 

To me, the parts that are different serve a purpose in their difference.  Champions, the 3rd edition core rulebook, didn't need or have an extensive skill list, because finely detailed extensive skills weren't the point; the point was the things that your character can do as a superhero.  It told the GM how to do skills, including importing them from Danger International if you wanted, but an optional way to handle them if you didn't (and the Champions II supplement added most of those in anyway).  Champions wasn't just "a superhero RPG powered by the HERO System," it was a dedicated superhero game that happened to use a house system.  Fantasy Hero used a lot of the same basic mechanisms, but added its own tweaks that worked for fantasy games.  Likewise for Justice Inc. and Danger International.  If you look at, say, Runequest/Call of Cthulhu/Superworld, you can see something similar.  

 

In first-gen era, the games themselves were designed using the core "Hero System" and their own sets of assumptions; each game did its own thing and did it well.  In 4th edition, suddenly we had the fully internally consistent "HERO System" that tried to do everything, and did most of it, pretty well, but you did it all starting with one set of assumptions.  The most unsatisfying games I had were when I tried to run first-gen style non-supers campaigns with people who started with 4th edition; even when I'd write up in campaign documents what I was trying to run, even when I'd use the campaign design sheets, the underlying assumptions tripped us up.  I was trying to run one style of game, they were trying to play a different one.  I was trying to run low powered, primarily skill-based games, and they were trying to figure out what powers their thief should have and how many points they needed for their Multipower.  

 

The truism around the webs is that Hero is best for superheroic games, and GURPS is best for gritty games.  I honestly never found that to be the case, until 4th edition came out.  The group I used to play with in the late eighties, firmly in first-gen era, was an organized group that had five sessions in a weekend; Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening.  I was part of that group for about three years, and the system of choice was almost exclusively "Hero System", meaning the first-gen games.  We played ridiculous numbers of different campaigns; some of which went on for two years, some of which went on for two sessions, but 95% of which were one or more of Champions, Fantasy Hero, Danger International, Robot Warriors, Justice Inc.  Each of the games -- even different campaigns using the same game! -- had its own flavor, and own assumptions.  For instance, Fantasy Hero 1st edition didn't include the Martial Arts rules by default.  The assumption was that you were playing swords and sorcery types, with weapon skills represented by specific fantasy-flavored optional maneuvers.  In a Fantasy Hero conversion of FGU's Bushido RPG, I played a ninja (it was the 80's, don't judge) with Karate from DI, so I asked the GM, who chuckled at my kewl-ninja-wanna-be-ness but said yes, I can do that.  If he'd said no I wouldn't have had Karate.  And it was no big deal either way.  You started with the particular set of assumptions in the game you were playing, and asked the GM to go beyond them; it's easier to give than it is to take away. 


Nowadays?  It's one system, one set of assumptions.  The assumption is that everything in the book is fair game; for instance, if want to run a low powered Fantasy Hero game reminiscent of the first-gen days, I can write up a campaign rules document that clearly says "No Martial Arts," and no to a dozen other things, but I guarantee every character will have Martial Arts and at least half of the other things on my "no" list.  And I'll get all kinds of pushback about how this is just his combat style, it's not really a Martial Arts form, and I'll just toss the character sheets back and never run the game. 

 

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Chris,

I would "like" your post because I appreciate all the detail, but I'm out of "likes" for some reason. 

 

So many things you described, like all the different campaigns (OMG we played the hell out of Danger International!) and such from the '80s... but I never had the issues that you described when we translated to 4th. It could come down to differences in expectations. I never tried to spell out huge campaign limits and write down significant house rules, and it wasn't until 4th Edition that we began playing Fantasy Hero in depth. I think that, while there were times where certain applications of powers broke the feel of the game (the use of force field by a mage and a character with wings, both of which were really over-powered), but I never ended up with player push back or frustration on that, as the "table" generally agreed pretty quickly that "whoa... that just isn't right" and we changed things.

 

With supers, we felt the 4th Ed expanded skill list was cool, but not necessary. It wasn't until 5th that I felt the expectation had changed from "General broad skills, and you can get specific if you want" to "Must deconstruct all skills into fifty different knowledge skill specifics for every possible situation"


The whole separation of Heroic level vs. Superheroic really worked for us. Over time, there were always questions of "Is this balanced?" but I never felt that it was up to a rule set to proscribe the kind of game to be played, but that Hero let us find our own.

 

Perhaps it was that I always wanted my Champs campaign to actually do away with most comic book tropes (or at least question them) and move more into the "people with powers in a chaotic, dangerous world" type of campaign. On the surface, you had costumes and code names, but wrestling with issues of the law and vigilantism, killing or not, how to use your power to change society, not just beat up bad guys... what were the ramifications for normal in a world of supers, etc.  Those things were essential to the game, and I don't think could have been done with Champions as it was originally envisioned, that enforced tropes like secret id's, DNPCs, etc.

 

Ultimately, I always found that rules and systems only went so far, and nothing in the book was ever considered absolute. What happened at the table determined what was right... work it out in play... then capture any change that meant to the rule set. This type of thing lead to dumping END as too much boring math in game, dumping the Speed Chart because it made SPD not just powerful, and the chart resolution clunky, but enforced some players as having more face time in the game than others.


Eventually, it is all about the players. I found a good test. Give a prospective player the BBB, have them read through it a bit, and then, "Tell me what you think?" If they say something like, "So it seems like I can play any cool character... like this guy who fights occult crime like the Shadow, but with magical trinkets instead of guns" and I'd feel they have a good chance in the group. If, on the other hand, they say, "So it seems that the character I should play has desolidification and ego attack, affects real world, because then I can attack everyone, but never be touched, right?"   Then I take the book back and say, "Effort appreciated, the exit is over there."

 

It was a good test about whether people wanted to role play, or game the system.

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