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Looking for a Memorable One-Shot


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I have a friend who asks me every year to run a one-shot game for his birthday. Usually, I've run Delta Green (as he's a huge Lovecraft fan), but this year he has requested something different -- he asked for Champions.

 

A funny element is that, although I've used Hero System as my go-to default RPG system for close to three decades, he didn't know that when he asked for Champions. I'm currently running a Traveller Hero 6E campaign, and for ten years I ran a Fantasy Hero campaign, but I haven't run Champions in probably 15 or so years. As a result, though I have a full roster of characters (both pre-generated PCs and NPCs), I am unfamiliar with any recent Champions scenarios that might have gotten good press. Normally, I'd just come up with my own thing, but I have only two-three weeks to prepare and would prefer not to rush.

 

So, please provide me with suggestions on what scenarios you would recommend for a one-shot game. I remember having a lot of fun with some old modules (like The Coriolis Effect) but that was under a different version of the game, and a lot of material has been published for Champions in the interim. Scenarios from other superhero RPGs are also good fodder, since I have no problem "thinking in Hero" when reading material from other games.

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I guess the first question I would ask is, Does the edition of Hero System matter to you? A lot of adventures have been published over the years for all editions, from Hero Games or other sources. I also assume that you play as part of a group, rather than just your friend and you. Would that be correct?

 

Assuming for the moment that edition is not an issue, I'm struck by your mention of your friend's fondness for Lovecraft/Delta Green. For that and other reasons, I'm going to recommend a scenario written by gaming great Allen Varney for Fourth Edition, originally published in Champions in 3-D as "Horror World." This is the purest embodiment of Lovecraftian horror within the supers genre that I've ever seen, and IMHO fits very well into the "memorable" category. It's designed to be run in one (long) session or up to three shorter ones. Another big plus is that Varney got permission to host the entire adventure on his personal website for free viewing, retitled Anopheles: Atrocities From Beyond. It has detailed descriptions of the plot, setting, and full 4E stats for NPCs and foes. It lacks only the original artwork and drawn maps, which are in C3-D (which is available from the Hero Games website store for $7.50 in PDF): https://www.herogames.com/forums/store/product/625-champions-3-d-pdf-4th-edition/

 

If that doesn't work for you for whatever reason, I do have a few other things in mind in a similar vein. If you describe your concerns we can try again. :)

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The Star-Devourer has stats for 2e/3e Champions. There's really only one character (the title monster) to convert. A Lovecraft fan might enjoy it.

I own that one and, while I have never run it, it seemed a little basic for a scenario IIRC. I shall reread to see if my memory is faulty.

 

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I guess the first question I would ask is, Does the edition of Hero System matter to you? A lot of adventures have been published over the years for all editions, from Hero Games or other sources. I also assume that you play as part of a group, rather than just your friend and you. Would that be correct?

Not only does edition not matter, but I would venture to say that game system doesn't really matter either. I've been considering some V&V scenarios I own from the 80s (like, say, FORCE), and considering whether any of them are short enough to be worth converting for this one-shot.

 

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For that and other reasons, I'm going to recommend a scenario written by gaming great Allen Varney for Fourth Edition, originally published in Champions in 3-D as "Horror World."

Hmmm... I've forgotten specifics about that. I remember the Anopheles making an appearance in Horror Hero and not being too impressed with them; I'll have to check out the scenario in C3D to see if it matches your high praise!

 

So, I have homework.

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53 minutes ago, AlHazred said:

I own that one and, while I have never run it, it seemed a little basic for a scenario IIRC. I shall reread to see if my memory is faulty.

 

I like the basic-ness. It makes it feel like a comic book plot to me.

 

But it's not easy. The players have to work out that they need to find where the monster came from, then do that while keeping the monster contained. Yes, they have to split the party.

 

Of course it can be jazzed up with DNPCs, and even with Hunteds. The time scale might not allow for the latter though. Although... the possibility of Dr BigBad flying in towards the end and getting monstered has some appeal.

 

EDIT: After rereading it there's quite a lot of potential for tailoring it.

 

I wouldn't necessarily start it with the investigation opening. But without that, the existence and location of the cultists needs to be indicated to the PCs another way.

 

I would change the bit about the Democratic Party Convention too, despite the amusement value of it being attacked by a giant (Bob) Dhole.

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5 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

I always felt the best straight one-shot adventure published for Champions was the classic Island of Dr. Destroyer. Direct, fast-paced, plenty of action with a few good character moments. Available in PDF from the Hero store, very cheap.

I own that one, from my first gaming group in high school. I'll dig it out and look through it. Didn't some of it get updated in the Book of the Destroyer (which I also have, and have actually read)?

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In a way, yes. IIRC an update/expansion of the adventure was a special Champions 25th Anniversary offer. In the Champions Universe timeline, DD recreated his island, "Destruga II," after the first Destruga was sunk (presumably in the first adventure). The maps and details for Destruga II were later included in BOTD, but not the adventure. However, you can easily use the BOTD material with the original adventure, if you want to update to 5E.

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It was published in the 2006 Champions 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition. That was a hard-cover book which besides the adventure, included the entire text from the 5E Champions genre book and Champions Universe supplement, as well as interviews with a host of Hero Games contributors across the company's history. The entire print run of the book was only 200 copies. As you can imagine they're extremely hard to find today.

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