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Hero Does It Better

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On 1/3/2019 at 10:27 AM, zslane said:

 

That may describe the proto-D&D of the Chainmail miniatures days of the early 1970s, but by the 1980s roleplaying had evolved quite further than that, even the "old school" style. Just because PCs can die--fairly easily if players are not smart and cautious--doesn't mean they are disposable characters that should be treated like nameless figures on a mass battlefield. It just means the campaign is more of a sandbox simulation of a world in the given genre, rather than a story-driven collaborative experience where every PC is a precious snowflake that must not die unless it serves a satisfying dramatic purpose.

Yes!  Thank you!  Sandbox is what I want.

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5 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

 

I am curious, as to why  GMing takes so much time? 

 

 

If I may address one possibility that hasn't been mentioned:

 

The workload will vary considerably depending on a selection of things:

 

How involved are the players in creating and maintaining the universe?  Do they enjoy fleshing out their own backgrounds, their own Hunteds or other bits of their history that will fall into the campaign universe?  Are they allowed to?  Do they create a few villains or other NPCs for the world at large?  Are they willing to bounce around some ideas of the technology or scope of the game universe?

 

And as for the GM who creates the world:  each GM is as different, ultimately, as any two people.  Some like the growth of the world to be organic, developing with the history the players are creating, allowing the world to grow and unfold as fits the needs of the story.  Which personally, I think is great, because it saves me a _lot_ of front-loading.  Why design eighteen alien races and thirty-five populated worlds for those stars a few parsecs spinward, just to have the party head the other way and never look back?  Of course, this has the side-effect of making sure that everything gets recorded, because you're making cannon as you go.  It's not really a big deal-- well, I'm really tired of typing, but let's say that there are ways to make this lighter on you, too.  If they work in your group.

 

Also, there are those GMs who _hate_ letting the story spin on wherever, or who aren't comfortable having to make up something appropriate and remember it forever.  There are also those guys for whom the _best_ fun is from planning and mapping and designing every single aspect of the world, right down to the political situations on a thousand planets.  They want to map all the continents, design all the ships, and place every city and plant in the entire universe before the game begins.  They want a thousand years worth of established lore, and want the players to ooh and aaah over a marvelous and complete and ready-to-be-explored world.  For those guys, starting a new campaign is a _huge_ job that takes time not just to do, but to research in order to do.  I should know:  I used to be one.  Players being what they are, I realized that less than half of a percent of my efforts were _not_ wasted, and eventually just resorted to plotting out a few things "local" to the players, some crib notes on where they are and where they could be, plopped up a short list of characters, races, whatever, and places, and designed the "must have" and "will always be x" (such as magic be this" or "FTL work so" or "country X hate you and your guts" )points into a bullet list.  I could plop what I wanted where it needed to be as we went along.  Either way, the players still saw what they were going to see, and I saved months of prep work.  A little heartbreaking, but I found I really enjoyed the side-effect of the world becoming something that we _all_ created.

 

And then there are the players.  How do you craft something they will be interested it?  What happens if they _aren't_ interested, or at least aren't intrigued by the "right" parts of your universe?  You've got to make contingencies.  A few scenarios, a few different scenarios, and a few more scenarios that can change one to another.  Etc.

 

Either way, a lot of it comes right down to the kind of GM you actually _are_, and what you, as the GM, enjoy doing as part of your campaign planning.  If someone is happy being one type of world builder, I wouldn't ask them to change for anything.  I mean, we play because we like it, right?  :lol:

 

 

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11 hours ago, zslane said:

 

The BattleTech/MechWarrior universe is pretty much just humans, right? And it doesn't really feature psionics or massive space fleets or planet killers, does it? Besides, the last time I played MechWarrior (in the late 80s) the system was so bland it hurt.

 

{shrug}...I was just trying to be helpful, YMMV.

 

The setting has rubber science, a little bit of grimdark (neo-feudalistic inner sphere, some crapsack worlds in the periphery, and clan caste angst, and combat can be quite gritty and lethal), powered armor and 'mechs (elementals and mechwarriors)...which ticks off most of the criteria you listed. It is lacking in non-humans, but that can be tacked on easily enough using the lifepath mechanics and traits. Psionics, massive fleets, and planet killers weren't in your original ask.

 

I personally wouldn't call the system bland; but that's obviously subjective and also depends on what edition you are referring to. The first edition had problems and I skipped the 2nd edition, but I found the 3rd edition to be serviceable / utilitarian...sort of similar to cyberpunk 2020...this edition is founded on a lifepath character creation model and I'm not a huge fan of that style of character creation but I thought it worked ok in this context. The current edition is called "A Time of War" and I've heard bad things about it but not looked at it myself. 

 

 Lifepaths just got me thinking about Traveller. I never really got into it, but it's got psionics, aliens, etc. Might work for you and Mongoose printed an edition a few years ago. Oh, and I just remembered, there was a Traveller Hero licensed product back in the 5e days. I think one or more people from the Hero Forums were involved. I never saw a copy personally, but it existed.

 

Personally, I liked Dreampod 9's Heavy Gear better, but I have some nostalgic feels for the BattleTech / mechwarrior setting. Also, since the essence of the setting is very fluffy, it converts well to other game systems. I've seen a decent Savage Worlds hack and a few different Fate hacks (though, for me, even though I like Fate a lot...mechwarrior just doesn't seem like a good systemic fit).

 

Obviously, the Hero System can do it (maybe better?)...I didn't care for Robot Warriors back in the day, but using the vehicle rules straight up...Ultimate Vehicle, Star Hero...toss it in a blender...not that hard to gin something up for a GM willing to put in the time. EDIT: looks like TheQuestionMan put together a link list on these very forums back in 2005...

 

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35 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

KS at least to the Battletech boards I visit now and again, 2nd ed Mechwarrior seems to be the fan favorite. Of course very subject to taste. 

 

The main thing, as I recall it from back in the day, was that 1e (and I think 2e but don't know from personal experience) was more focused on mechwarriors, while 3e was scaled more at the people level and encompassed other kinds of character concepts and was for that reason a broader rpg experience...however the playerbase for the most part were obviously attracted to the setting for the mecha and mechwarriors and generally speaking weren't that interested in a bigger tent. From my perspective, mechanically, 3e was a better system. I haven't played it for...uh...well not quite 2 decades but at least 15, 16 years or so...and thus im going off memory but that's how I recall it. 

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I never felt that good old dnd was more dangerous to the pc's than the newer editions. 

The monsters hit more often having the best to hit chance in the game but on the other hand they most often do less damage, they dont have rules for critting and they dont add strength or other bonuses to the damage roll. Making it way easier to estimate how much damage the monster will do. Combat in the old editions might be more predictable and boring though depending on your taste. 

In any case Hero is much easier to figure out chances especially if you dont use hit locations. 

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14 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

There are also those guys for whom the _best_ fun is from planning and mapping and designing every single aspect of the world, right down to the political situations on a thousand planets.  They want to map all the continents, design all the ships, and place every city and plant in the entire universe before the game begins.  They want a thousand years worth of established lore, and want the players to ooh and aaah over a marvelous and complete and ready-to-be-explored world.  For those guys, starting a new campaign is a _huge_ job that takes time not just to do, but to research in order to do.  I should know:  I used to be one.  Players being what they are, I realized that less than half of a percent of my efforts were _not_ wasted, and eventually just resorted to plotting out a few things "local" to the players, some crib notes on where they are and where they could be, plopped up a short list of characters, races, whatever, and places, and designed the "must have" and "will always be x" (such as magic be this" or "FTL work so" or "country X hate you and your guts" )points into a bullet list. 

 

Reading this, I was reminded of a bit from one of the Dream Park books, where the rookie GM is complaining to the more experienced GM that the players completely missed something in the background that was key to his game history.  IIRC, the experienced GM said, "Don't worry, it'll get noticed in the home version of the game."  That doesn't apply in your case, I just had a flashback I wanted to share.

 

There's always stuff the GM creates that the players either don't notice, or don't realize the significance, or just plain don't care.  I try to throw things in that, should the players notice or dig deeper, it could potentially help them out a lot.  When they do hit on those things, even if it ends up short-circuiting an element of my plotline, it seems to make things more enjoyable both for me and for them.

 

I try to write up the text stuff for all of my homebrew Champions supervillains (Background/History, Personality, etc.).  Sure, 90% of that won't matter to the players, but I find it helps me find the character's "voice" and make that character less 2-dimensional.

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12 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

The setting has rubber science, a little bit of grimdark ..., powered armor and 'mechs ...which ticks off most of the criteria you listed.

 

I appreciate the suggestion. MechWarrior appears to tick off most of my criteria only because I was pretty terrible at conveying the (admittedly blurry) image of the campaign setting that I had in my head, and that's entirely my fault. I read Stackpole's BattleTech novels, so I am pretty familiar with the feel, tone, and scope of the BattleTech/MechWarrior universe and it isn't what I have in mind. Think W40K meets Star Wars meets Chronicles of Riddick meets Jovian Chronicles. I have no idea what this mash-up would actually look like in practice, but I do know that MechWarrior isn't quite it.

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Well Zslane the current affairs in B-Tech is now year 3131 and it’s the Dark Age.  Apparently HPG Network is destroyed and technology moved back so far that  3025 era mechs are considered advance.  So perhaps in an alternate version,  somebody tinkered to much genetically and now there are Aliens or perhaps that is the new threat? Anyways I thought that you could use Mechwarrior as a base then just throw in elements that you wanted from other sources.

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On 1/9/2019 at 11:42 AM, zslane said:

Are you sure we aren't referring to the same thing, just with different words?

 

Now that you mention it, I think we are.

 

On 1/13/2019 at 9:26 PM, zslane said:

I'm looking for something that takes the epic scope and rubber science of Star Wars, adds in a pinch of W40K-ish grimdark, features lots of powered armor and 'mechs, and a good deal of non-humanoid alien species. I'm pretty sure this is a setting I'd have to build myself, and I simply don't have the time or motivation right now.

 

That's something I could get behind.  But trying to find something premade with all that is nigh impossible and, as you say, would most likely require being built from the ground up. (Although, I'm not so attached to the whole "alien species" things. I can take it or leave it as I've found it's really hard to integrate aliens into a game and have them actually BE alien).

 

On 1/14/2019 at 12:47 PM, zslane said:

 

The BattleTech/MechWarrior universe is pretty much just humans, right? And it doesn't really feature psionics or massive space fleets or planet killers, does it? Besides, the last time I played MechWarrior (in the late 80s) the system was so bland it hurt.

 

Yup. Just plain, garden variety humans.  And I've got about a decadish of Mechwarrior RPG on you, so 90's, and as far as I can tell, it hasn't changed.

 

On 1/14/2019 at 1:01 PM, Old Man said:

IIRC Mechwarrior has mechs but is short on grimdarks and nonhumans.

 

I'm kind of in the same boat as you are--I was going to respond to the favorite-SF-setting thread and I realized that there isn't one that has everything that I like.  (In my case, that would be mechs, cyber, psi, and capital ship combat.  And kung fu.)

 

Ditto OM . .. Ditto.  Although I'm more of a subfighter kinda guy.  Gimme mah Viper!! or Hammerhead, or Star Fury or . . . . :)

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