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Daisuke

Tips and Tricks on How To Be A Game Master for Heroes

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Yeah I recommend not giving enemies very high DCV unless that's their particular schtick.  That is: don't make them really hard to hit unless that is their special, memorable ability.  It sucks to miss, but people will tolerate doing minimal damage.  Focus on defenses and damage reducers instead of DCV when possible.

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15 hours ago, Daisuke said:

I appreciate all the tips and tricks you all have given me, I really do, but I'm not gonna lie all of this is kinda overwhelming. I've been reading your advices over and over again so I can have a better grasp of the game, I also have been reading the Hero's book seen last thanksgiving so it makes things a bit easier to understand. And I don't know if this is also a problem but I found out that it takes me more than couple days to even make a character or make a character sheet for an existing fictional character, Multipower & VVP has also been hard to understand. I'm afraid that once I start the game I'd slow the game down because I still lack understanding of the basic core rules.

 

Yes this is overwhelming, especially if you have never GM before.  Hero game system is like someone handing you all the tools and materials to build any kind of dwelling you want.  As they say "The sky is the limit!"  That is the power of the system.  This is very different from d20 games where you are handed a house and all you have to do is move in and adjust the furniture to your liking (i.e. Curse of Strahd).

 

Here are some things that I think will help you along.

  1. You need some character builds of existing characters from the background material
  2. You need to build some example characters at the point and power level that the players will be playing at
  3. You need to decide on some campaign flavor

Existing Characters from Background Material

Give us a brief example of two or three existing fictional characters from the anime you want to use as the basis for your game.  Here is what I would want to know:

  • Name
  • Basic description of the character's abilities.  Is this character someone who projects energy, can fly, is super strong/tough, a martial artist, a tinker, etc
  • Basic description of the character's personality
  • Could the character using their best attack - break a oak board, brick, concrete brick, cut thru a steel I-Beam, etc?  This will help judge how much damage they can do with their best attack
  • If the character was hit by the above attack would they be dead, bleeding/broken and going to the hospital, unconscious and going to the hospital, unconscious but will shake it off in a moment, stunned (think a boxer who got hit in the head but is still standing and in a daze), or does the Luke Skywalker brush off the shoulder move 🙂

 

Maybe one of the many folks here who love to create characters could create said characters for you with and without Power Frameworks so you can see what the options are.  Since the characters in question are modeled after existing characters, I would not worry about point totals. 

 

Example Player Characters

Then you can look at those characters and make some decisions about what you want the beginning characters in your campaign to be like.  How tough are the player characters compared to the Existing Characters from the Background Material.

 

For example, everyone who has played in any of my Champions (superhero) games has been familiar with comic book superheros.  My wife said to me "I want my character to have powers like Wonder Woman."  That is great except a complete Wonder Woman character is probably a 400 point base character with 300 to 500 points of experience.  So I helped her build a character at 400 points and the character has worked out very well.  Now if the players went up against say the Avengers, the Avengers would clean their clocks.  Do you want the same to happen with the PCs if they encounter a named character from the anime?

 

Campaign Flavor

  • How serious is the campaign?  Are you running something like the Dark Knight series or is it more campy like the old Batman TV show or someplace in between
  • How 'real' is the campaign?  Do the characters have to deal with real world situations (missing the bus, car accident, getting sick, job, etc)?  Or is that all just hand waved over?
  • Society and the law concerning 'powered individuals'
  • Killing vs. not killing
  • Goals
  • Enforcement of the genre/flavor of the campaign.  When I run a Superhero game I tell the players it is a Silver Age game and Superheros don't kill.  Even most villains won't kill.  One player almost killed a villain, even after he had her down.  His character was charged with attempted murder and sent to super-prison.

 

Hope this helps

 

 

 

 

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Definitely focus on the excellent general GMing tips that people are posting. Being a good GM is secondary to system specific stuff.

 

That said, here's some system specific stuff. :)

  • Have an "intro to the system" session with just a combat. Use stock characters from one of the books so you don't lose time making characters. This will give everyone a sense of the system and help when it's time to make characters.
  • Be prepared to rewrite and rebalance characters once the game starts. It's very common to have someone come out too powerful or too weak. Players should understand that the goal is to have fun, and unbalanced characters are not fun.
  • Using a DEX chart (all PCs and NPCs listed in DEX order, with a column for each SPD segment) helps a tremendous amount of combat. You can prepare one ahead of time or just write it out as needed.
  • And one last sorta system-specific item: if there's a rules question, sometimes it's better to make a quick ruling during the game and then revisit it afterward. A wrong answer that keeps the game flowing can be better than 30 minutes of hunting for the right rule.

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* Definitely figure out what kind of world your heroes are going to be part of. When everyone has the same idea, it's great; when everyone isn't, it's very confusing

* Let the players know you're learning with them, and that it's OK to make mistakes because everyone's learning

* Paraphrasing what others have said: you are the GM, the director of your play while the player characters are the actors. Make this a fun play for everyone

* This isn't you vs them/GM vs players

* Really listen to what the players say; they may give you wonderful suggestions such as: story ideas, ways to become an excellent GM, power concepts, etc.

* Build your world slowly if you're creating something original but at least base it on something real, such as a real city/nation/world, etc.

* Praise the players! If a player had their character do something dumb but everyone laughed, tell him/her it was funny

* Don't be afraid to give out an extra experience point for superb roleplaying, or something else outstanding. Rewards encourage players to become great

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On 8/13/2018 at 3:58 PM, Daisuke said:

I appreciate all the tips and tricks you all have given me, I really do, but I'm not gonna lie all of this is kinda overwhelming. I've been reading your advices over and over again so I can have a better grasp of the game, I also have been reading the Hero's book seen last thanksgiving so it makes things a bit easier to understand. And I don't know if this is also a problem but I found out that it takes me more than couple days to even make a character or make a character sheet for an existing fictional character, Multipower & VVP has also been hard to understand. I'm afraid that once I start the game I'd slow the game down because I still lack understanding of the basic core rules.

 

I would keep the character designs very simple to start out with.  While Multipowers and VPPs aren't really that difficult to understand, somebody in the gaming group needs to thoroughly understand how they work before you try using them.

 

You might try a few sessions using pregenerated characters just to get the idea of how the game works.  Don't worry about people designing characters they want to marry and live happily ever after with.  You're just looking for a one night stand so you can figure out what part goes where.  One of the great things about the old (4th edition) game was that the character designs were very simple.  It was pretty easy for people to glance at the character and understand it.  If you can't find a pregenerated set of characters you'd like to use, people on this board might be able to help you design them, and maybe walk you through the design process so that you understand what is happening.

 

Once people understand the basics of the game, they'll be able to design characters that are much closer to what they really want.  They'll understand why certain things are important ("Why does my character need OCV?  That sounds dumb, I'll just ignore it.  I'm sure this won't come back to bite me later in the game...").  Once you've had a few mock combats under your belt, you'll have a much better idea of what you want to allow in your game.

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On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 9:58 PM, Daisuke said:

I appreciate all the tips and tricks you all have given me, I really do, but I'm not gonna lie all of this is kinda overwhelming. I've been reading your advices over and over again so I can have a better grasp of the game, I also have been reading the Hero's book seen last thanksgiving so it makes things a bit easier to understand. And I don't know if this is also a problem but I found out that it takes me more than couple days to even make a character or make a character sheet for an existing fictional character, Multipower & VVP has also been hard to understand. I'm afraid that once I start the game I'd slow the game down because I still lack understanding of the basic core rules.

 

It is overwhelming.  I hesitated for months before running a game for my friends (and this was back when the rules were in one (very) slim volume...).

 

Turns out the best thing was a couple of quick one-shots to get used to the rules, everyone running pre-made characters.  There are a LOT of resources on the internet now that were not available back then.  Choose one site and raid all your characters from the one site as the build decisions will be more likely to be consistent.

 

After a few one-shots there will be things you want to do.  That is what we are here for.

 

When it comes down to it, you guys are getting together because you all want to have fun.  Set up a scene that highlights each players schtick in the first game. One scene where the strong guy needs to lift/throw/smash something.  One scene where the martial artist sneaks in and takes out a guard. One scene where the energy blaster flies past and takes out the generator that is powering the bad guys doom machine.  Every player has something they want to get out of their character, find out what that is and make it happen.  System details and other stuff can come later.  Your job is to make the players feel like superheroes, doing that according to the detail of the rules can come later.

 

The greatest piece of advice I got was: if a situation comes up and you don't know the details of the rule, tell the players you aren't sure of that rule but are going to make it up and check the rules after the game.  Making it up means taking a decent guess at something that seems fair and fun.  Players LOVE rolling dice, give them a decent dice chance and they will take it.  Tell a good story, treat them like heroes, make heroic stuff work and have a good time.  System knowledge will come later.

 

Doc

 

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One thing I think the game needs are some quick and dirty character designs just for people to play around with and learn the combat system.  Not complete characters, just generic archetypes that are easy to understand.  Maybe each character has like one unique thing to help people learn the game.

 

For instance, let's go with something like this (not complete characters, not even complete character sheets, no point balancing done at all):

 

Quote

 


Big Green Guy

He's big, he's green, he's angry, and he's strong.
Str 70  
Dex 15
Con 30
Int 8
Ego 10
Pre 30

PD 30 (20 resistant)
ED 20 (15 resistant)
Spd 4
OCV 8
DCV 5

60 Stun
20 Body
50 meters Leaping

Patriot Shield Man
He loves his country.
Str 20
Dex 25
Con 20
Int 15
Ego 20
Pre 25

 PD 20 (5 resistant)
ED 20 (5 resistant)
Spd 6
OCV 10
DCV 8
 

40 Stun
15 Body
16 meters Leaping
16 meters Running

Martial Arts moves
10D6 Uppercut (-2 OCV, +1 DCV)
8D6 Jab (+2 DCV)
Acrobatic Dodge (+5 DCV)
Block (+2 OCV, +2 DCV)

Shield -- Multipower (choose one each round)
--10D6 Blast (thrown shield)
--+2D6 Hand Attack (shield smash)
--+10/10 Defense (hiding behind shield)

Ghost Robot Man
He is a robot who has learned to love a human woman... and who can walk through walls.
Str 35
Dex 20
Con 25
Int 20
Ego 15
Pre 25

PD 25 (10 resistant)
ED 25 (10 resistant)
Spd 5
OCV 8
DCV 7

40 Stun
15 Body
30 meters Flight

 Density control -- Multipower (choose one each round)
--Desolidification (walk through walls, cannot be damaged, cannot attack)
--Density Increase (+25 Strength, +5 PD and ED)
--Phasing Attack (6D6 Hand to Hand Attack, no defenses apply)
 

 

 

There you go.  There are your heroes.  They are all fairly simple and straightforward.  Hand the players a character like this and they should be able to figure out what is going on.  The handful of decisions they make each round are clearly spelled out.  Now have them fight something like this:

 

Quote

 


Future Nazi Wannabe Goons
Faceless, no-name jerks with matching uniforms
Str 10
Dex 10
Con 10
Int 10
Ego 10
Pre 10

PD 10 (5 resistant)
ED 10 (5 resistant)
Spd 3
OCV 5
DCV 5

20 Stun
10 Body
12 meters Running


9D6 Blast, 32 charges (OAF -- futuristic blaster gun)


Evil Robot Guy
An experiment gone wrong.  It hates all life.
Str 60
Dex 23
Con 30
Int 25
Ego 20
Pre 30

PD 30 (20 resistant)
ED 30 (20 resistant)
Spd 6
OCV 9
DCV 7

60 Stun
20 Body
30 meters Flight

12D6 Blast (death ray blaster)

Mind Control machine (no game stats, just a big immobile device that sits in the corner)
 

 

 

There.  Have them fight an opening battle where they take on 2 of the Nazi Goons apiece.  They shouldn't be in any danger of losing, even if they do really dumb stuff.  The Nazis are breaking into a science lab or something trying to steal an experimental thingy.  The heroes should be able to fool around with their characters and learn how the system works, while still winning.  Then have them fight another round of Nazi Goons where there are 3 or 4 Goons apiece (they're now attacking in force now that they know the heroes are there).  This is still weighted in the heroes' favor.  If the heroes win, have one or two goons escape and that leads the heroes back to their lair.  If the heroes are losing, have the remaining goons grab the experimental thingy and run (also leading the heroes back to their lair).  Once at the lair, the heroes discover that the Nazi Goons have all been Mind Controlled by an Evil Robot Guy.  The Evil Robot Guy needs the parts that the Nazis were trying to steal in order to boost the range of his Mind Control machine, allowing him to take over the city.

 

Now the climactic fight begins, against an opponent that actually has super-powers (and should be able to defeat any of the heroes individually, but not all of them together).  If the heroes have fought well in previous encounters, then let Evil Robot Guy have a few Nazi Goons to help him out in the fight (one or two per hero should be fine).  If the heroes have not fought well (they don't seem to be 'getting it' yet), then have the Evil Robot Guy be alone.  If they really need help, you might have them take Evil Robot Guy by surprise as he works to finish his Mind Control machine (his back is turned and he doesn't hear the heroes come in, meaning they get to act on Segment 12 and he doesn't).

 

There you go, an easy intro adventure with pre-made characters that everyone should understand.  The Big Green Guy is the toughest, and hits the hardest.  Patriot Shield Man is the fastest, and has great OCV/DCV.  And Ghost Robot Man has freaky weird powers that no one else can do.

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