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bubba smith

dark champions was...

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In my experience, it depended entirely on who you asked.

 

To me, though, it looked like the latter day equivalent of Pulp Hero, and I thought it should have been called something like "Action Hero" or "Action Adventure Hero."

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Palindromedary Hero

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It's original focus was dark, gritty vigilante action, like Batman or the Punisher. Over time it expanded to basically include all "modern day" non-superhero action, the RPG equivalent to the "action movie" genre. That's why I agree with Lucius that it should have been re-branded as Action Hero long ago.

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Dark Champions as originally published during Fourth Edition was a superhero sub-genre, the "street-level" hero a la Batman, Punisher, Daredevil, Vigilante, etc. Non- or low-powered costumed heroes and villains, grey morality, lots more lethal attacks, and a heavy emphasis on Skills over Powers. I agree with my colleagues above that Steve Long recast it for Fifth Edition as embracing all iterations of modern action-adventure, with street supers being the upper power level of what it covers.

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I was thinking that the original concept of dark champions was similar to 007/James Bond in the since that people would discuss not pulp, vigilantism, or anything else that it has eventually developed into.  The original concept of modern day espionage style games had more the detective with minor to no powers relying on whit and skill to get through a world similar to one that we currently live in.

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From Hero Games, the original modern-day espionage coverage was in the genre game book called Espionage!, revised and republished as Danger International, before Fourth Edition. If you look at the 4E Dark Champions genre book, and its supplements, almost all that material is as I described in my previous post.

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All you have to do is take a look at the 4e cover art and title for Dark Champions: Heroes of Vengeance and its primary focus becomes pretty evident. Its 1993 publication date also plants it firmly in the era of "dark roleplaying" (or, as we used to call it around Gencon in those years, "dork roleplaying"), in which most of the established RPG genres all saw "dark" variants emerge in the wake of the unexpected popularity of Vampire: the Masquerade. Dark Champions was Champions (i.e., comic book heroes) turned "dark and gritty", it wasn't Danger International updated for 4e.

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On ‎7‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 11:35 AM, Lucius said:

 

In my experience, it depended entirely on who you asked.

 

To me, though, it looked like the latter day equivalent of Pulp Hero, and I thought it should have been called something like "Action Hero" or "Action Adventure Hero."

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Palindromedary Hero

I concur sir

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On ‎7‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 12:34 PM, zslane said:

It's original focus was dark, gritty vigilante action, like Batman or the Punisher. Over time it expanded to basically include all "modern day" non-superhero action, the RPG equivalent to the "action movie" genre. That's why I agree with Lucius that it should have been re-branded as Action Hero long ago.

perhaps thr ptb considered the titile'action HERO too generic or they wanted to point out it was compatible to CHAMPIONS

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5 hours ago, bubba smith said:

perhaps thr ptb considered the titile'action HERO too generic or they wanted to point out it was compatible to CHAMPIONS

 

I don't believe the PTB ever considered any other title but the one it already had. Being generic has never kept Hero Games from avoiding a name before: Western Hero, Horror Hero, Fantasy Hero, Star Hero, Pulp Hero, etc. IMO, Action Hero fits in perfectly with those names.

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Well, "Dark Champions" was a trademark of Hero Games. The Captain Marvel situation shows what happens if you let a trademark languish too long -- someone else may snap it up, which can cause confusion in your customer base. But I think even beyond that, DC was Steve Long's baby. He wrote the genre book for it, and the Harbinger of Justice was his Player Character (whom he kept the rights to when the rest of the DC IP was sold to Cryptic Studios).

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If Hero Games actually wants to do something useful with the Dark Champions trademark, I think they should rewrite the book so that it is (again) tightly focused on street-level superhero vigilantes (maybe even more tightly than before), and take what's left and expand and reorganize it into a new genre book. After all, the "modern action hero" genre is broad enough that it could support its own genre book, and IMO it ought to be called Action Hero.

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4th edition Dark Champions and its attendant supplements were indisputably intended for street-level superheroes. It nonetheless included a large amount of useful information about real world law enforcement, organized crime, and firearms as those are major elements in such a game. As a result, it could easily be used for non-superheroic modern action games. 5th edition Dark Champions was produced with the active decision to expand the scope to include all manner of modern action stories. Both books are very well done, but I prefer the 4th edition version. I would prefer a strongly thematic Dark Champions with CU tie-ins and a completely separate Action Hero.

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6 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Street level as in Batman/Punisher? Yes. But as in Daredevil? No DC definitely had a non-super biased.

point taken to me street level means Batman the punisher  Col. Steve Austin /Jamie Sommers  walker texas ranger DD.Etc.

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8 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Street level as in Batman/Punisher? Yes. But as in Daredevil? No DC definitely had a non-super biased.

 

Perhaps, but not a non-super exclusion. In 4E the Harbinger of Justice could summon guns from a pocket dimension. Several members of the Card Shark organization had low-level superhuman abilities, like One-Eyed Jack and Deadman's Hand. Carnivore was a gene-spliced human-animal hybrid. And so on.

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Indeed. To my mind it is more about genre and tone (morally gray comic book vigilantes) than power level. The Six Million Dollar Man, the Bionic Woman, the A-Team, Walker Texas Ranger, James Bond, Mission Impossible, etc. those are all firmly planted in the action adventure genre, with little-to-no gray area between heroes and villains, and so they don't really fit the core "Dark Champions" charter. They belong in an Action Hero genre book instead, IMO.

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34 minutes ago, zslane said:

Indeed. To my mind it is more about genre and tone (morally gray comic book vigilantes) than power level. The Six Million Dollar Man, the Bionic Woman, the A-Team, Walker Texas Ranger, James Bond, Mission Impossible, etc. those are all firmly planted in the action adventure genre, with little-to-no gray area between heroes and villains, and so they don't really fit the core "Dark Champions" charter. They belong in an Action Hero genre book instead, IMO.

that may be but I meant in power level

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High Rock Press had announced a plan to resuscitate Danger International a couple of years ago, but with the recent death of Michael Satran, Jason Walters said he's more interested in releasing some of his material before anything else. I'd love to see DI released again for "Action Hero" campaigns, but it seems like it will be a long way off at this point.

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On 7/25/2018 at 1:13 PM, bubba smith said:

that may be but I meant in power level

 

In power level, 4th Edition Dark Champions was very much an eggshells with sledge hammers game.  Attacks ranged from 9-12 DC's but the defenses averaged about 15-18 points. But the real problem was the PSL abuse.  One villain, Troubleshooter,  I think had a 13 or so OCV vs head location out to 64 inches with a 2 1/2 d6 KA.  Some other guys on his team could manage that OCV at close range. The characters were campaign consistent but the firepower was off.

 

 

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