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Chris Goodwin

Early editions: House rules?

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5 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

 

To me the decreasing returns were what made the Disadvantages worthwhile.  You have a reason to not always hit the campaign maximum, and in fact the "maximum" in those days was usually a range.  

 

Without them, you're pretty much always guaranteed to hit your 50 points per category, 150 max points worth of Disads; every player character I've ever seen, always always always, without exception, under 4th through 6th editions always takes the maximum needed.  There's no reason not to, because you're leaving money on the table if you don't.  

When I first learned Champs in 4th I didn’t understand the Base + Disadvantages. I thought you HAD to take the Maximum. ?

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38 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

When I first learned Champs in 4th I didn’t understand the Base + Disadvantages. I thought you HAD to take the Maximum. ?

 

Well... I mean... why wouldn't you?  

 

In the 4th edition days, we had one guy come into the game with a Champions character sheet with "Standard Disadvantages" for 150 points.  On the one hand, no!  On the other hand... you can almost work them out on the fly.  Every character had three Psych Lims, two Hunteds, Secret (maybe Public) ID, a Reputation, and one to three between Susceptibility, Vulnerability, Berserk/Enraged, maybe Distinctive Features.  Every character came in at 250 points, no more, no less.  

 

We made him work them out, but we didn't let that stop him from playing, and it didn't delay the session, because we pretty much all knew what "Standard Disadvantages" meant.  

 

(Don't believe me that that was the "Standard Disadvantages" for a 4th edition Champions character?  I challenge you.  Grab a couple of character sheets, and break 'em down.)

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5 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Without them, you're pretty much always guaranteed to hit your 50 points per category, 150 max points worth of Disads

 

And I got rid of the max per category, too.  If you can come up with a good reason and character story behind it I don't care if you are ALL Psych Lims

 

 

I got rid of the max per category myself.  However, I retained diminishing returns.  I found that some players would still take a seventh or eighth, just because it was "right" for their character.  I gave in: I gave them 1/8, which if I recall amounted to about a point each.  I just wanted to give them _something_ for going that deep into concept without regard for its "value."

 

Chris:

 

I think I found the diskette my house rules for Presence Attack were recorded on.  I've sent it to a friend who has the equipment to extract it and put it into something I can use in these highfalutin future times we find ourselves living in.  :lol:

 

 

Duke

 

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

I think I found the diskette my house rules for Presence Attack were recorded on.  I've sent it to a friend who has the equipment to extract it and put it into something I can use in these highfalutin future times we find ourselves living in.  :lol:

 

 

 

I haven't gotten a useable file back yet, but I did just get an e-mail from said friend.  Very short, and to the point:

 

"Oh MY GOD do I hate you."

 

(I can only assume the smilie fell out somewhere between his computer and mine)

 

 

Duke

 

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Okay, I'm not a huge fan of double-posts, but this really did seem like the more appropriate place to put this.  For those of you who aren't following the "Maxima and other Things" thread under Fantasy HERO, I've reposted this here.

 

(Honestly, Chris; this is why I'm not good at the House Rules thread.  I spread those things into a lot of different conversations. :lol:

 

 

At any rate, my House Rule for Life Support: Character Does Not Age:

 



Agreed whole-heartedly.  In all the years since I started Playing Champions / HERO, I have only had _one_ instance where it had a genuine "this is only possible because the character is immortal" payoff.

 

I had a player with a character who was immortal during a historically-set time period.  The only pay-off was that I let that same player run the same character in a modern campaign back in the late 90s, and a couple of years later, he used that same character (after some mandatory experience point shaving) in an occult western we were doing.

 

So the only payoff he ever got for Life Support: does not age was two campaigns of not having to make a new character.  Fun and all that, but worth it?  Well, only the player can be the judge of that, honestly.

 

It did inspire me, though.  I know handle "immortal" or "Methuselesque" (thank you, DCF, of my old Daredevils-to-Champions-engine conversion campaign for one of the coolest power names _ever_! :rockon: ) differently.  It costs a bit more, but I now build it as a small skill pool large enough to build any two (simultaneously, I mean; it's not like you're stuck with 2 forever) 8-Knowledge skills, so long as they relate to outdated skills or historical events, people, and places.  I allow Area knowledges as well, but they are also limited to 8-, since "things have changed a lot since the last time I was here."

 

 

Crap.

 

I guess I should have put that in the House Rules section, hunh?

 

Helllooooooo, Double-post! :D 

 

 

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Not aging is not worth many points but then neither is poison or disease resistance in most games.  If you never really run into disease as a power or threat in your Champions game, that's 10 points blown on nonsense.  Cheaper than previous editions but still even in a fantasy game where they're much more likely to show up its a pretty heavy investment for not a common return.  

 

As for other house rules, I would strongly, very strongly suggest if you're going to play early edition Champions that you seriously consider some of the later ideas like how life support and martial arts were structured rather than the damage multipliers in 3rd or earlier editions.  And using things like stages of +10 rather than multiples of a stat for things like presence attacks and mental powers.  Even ideas such as Barrier or the way area effect is set up in 6th edition are far superior.

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Okay; I'm awake!  :lol:

 

 

Yeah, sounds strange, but let me explain:

 

I was four days (Sunday and three work days) laid out with the flu.  Should have laid out one more, but I was going stir crazy.  Went back to work knowing better, but I wanted to get out, and of course, there's that whole "work or go hungry" thing working against laying out in the first place.   My typical workday is thirteen hours; sometimes it's a bit short, sometimes it's a bit long.  Yesterday's was, mercifully, a couple of _hours_ short, allowing me a few minutes to catch my breath.    I checked in here, but I had to get ready for the youth group game: an extended session (that turned into a nearly all-nighter) that saw the exciting climax and conclusion of their campaign.  It was a huge success, and there was celebration afterward (pre-ordered of course; this town is too small for an all-night anything except Sprawl-Mart).

 

So I got precious little rest, and needed even more than usual.  Tried to post this last night, when I got in, but I got sidetracked on the board and ended up I dont' even know where and woke up in  in this chair, computer glowing, sun coming up....    decided I should take a little nap......

 

Okay; I'm awake!  :lol:

 

 

As promised, there was a bit of house rule I was going to post here, in spite of posting it elsewhere already.  Still:

 

PRE Attacks are defended against by EGO.  It makes more sense to me.  Presence is your force of personality.  As long as I'm discussing what makes sense to me, the fact that the rules interpret this as always being a fear-based reaction baffles me.  "Strength of Personality" does not automatically imply "scary."  It just doesn't.  I would like to cite Terry Hogan as a great example, but all my evidence is anecdotal.  The gist, however, is that everyone who knew the guy, even in high school, comment on being bowled over or plowed under by his personality, but he wasn't aggressive, threatening, or anything else.  He was, evidently, extremely outgoing  and very likable.  He wasn't known to dislike anyone.  He was a bit of a boor, apparently, since it seems that the thing he liked to talk about most was Terry Hogan.  (I believe he's still famous for that, actually).

 

But still: a big, strong personality that is decidedly not fear-based.

 

Look at Sam Elliott--

 

actually, no; don't.  I don't want to drag this out.   I need to make my points and move on, because I have been spending entirely too much time here, and it's not like I've got the time to actually do what I've been doing more and more and more of, and that's hanging out here.  It's cutting too much into my sleep, and my health and faculties are starting to suffer for it.  So just pretend I mentioned something about Sam Elliott having a powerful commanding presence in spite of not actually being able to back it up (which, even this far after his prime, Terry Hogan could probably still do) with a butt whuppin'.

 

This judgement has allowed my players a good bit of freedom, as the don't feel they have to play one of the various denizens of Gotham or a hulking animalistic brick to justify a high PRE score: it's not a measure of scariness; it's a measure of, as the rules state, "force of personality."

 

But the idea that your force of personality was the defense against some else's force of personality never sat any better with me than did "your scariness is your defense against someone else's scariness."  So what is it?  I did some thinking and some light research-- then some accidental research that really drove it home for me.  

 

oh yes: the accidental research:

 

Way back in the mid-eighties, there were a number of things going--  Sorry.  Short version.  Donny T was missing a beat down.  I had found it for him, and had been wanting to deliver it for some time.  One summer night, coming home from a date that ended up with my girlfriend and I mad at each other, I passed Donny T's truck broken down under the light at the SUNOCO station, and lo-and-behold guess who's legs were sticking out from under it?  I fishtailed the bike around, bolted it over the curb, dropped the stand, and started yelling and cussing before I had managed to get my helmet off.  The feet stirred and a hand came out from under the truck and I grabbed Donny T by the ankles and _snatched_ him the rest of the way out from under that truck and it       wasn't Donny T at all.  Not even a little bit.

 

Turns out Donny had sold that truck to another guy, and that guy was not even a little bit, either.  He started screaming and hollering, and at that point I had two options: backpedal and try to explain the situation or bulldog on through and hope he flinched.  Given that he had _at least_ five inches and eighty pounds on me, I didn't figure he was going to flinch, and I wasn't smart enough to try the other option.  So I did the dumbest, most typical thing a young, healthy man with a score to settle could do: I kept being threatening.  We escalated things between us for at least a minute or two.  But that's getting too long, too.

 

So while I was getting my ass kicked (thoroughly, I might add), I had an epiphany.  I realized that I had known from the moment I dragged this complete (and very large) stranger out from under "his" truck and got a solid look at him pretty much how this would up, should we come to blows.  I was no small fella, and (from this point in my life, I am not terribly proud to say) no stranger to a fight.  But this guy outclassed me physically, and I had no idea of his skill.  His looks told me immediately that we lived a similar lifestyle, and that he, too, had likely had some practice dusting his knuckles.  He was a couple of years older than me: not enough to slow him down at all, but enough to give him more opportunity to have fought and learned from it.  He also had a focused look and manner about him (which could have been a simple response to my own posturing) that suggested he was more likely to resort to violence anyway, which led me to make the decision to not back down in the first place).  But the entire time-- from that instant I realized I had little hope of winning this fight to the moment I had this epiphany, I had absolutely not been afraid of him.  Knowing that I was likely going get a solid ass-kicking (and I did, and it was very solid) had not deterred or even concerned me.  I could still very cleanly see what he was doing and try to move or retaliate.  My head was clear.  I was able to quite completely notice that he was both faster than me and more physically powerful than me.  I could understand mid-fight-- not replaying it later, but as it was happening-- that he had already learned every left was a feint and he was comfortable stepping in to them to get around the right that he knew was coming even before I could make myself not throw it.

 

Now that's not to say I didn't touch him.  I bopped him here and there, and his middle was softer than mine.  His gourd, however, was was more extreme to my range than mine was to his.  And of course, I already mentioned he was faster.....

 

So two minutes later, it's all over.   He's standing by the truck, moving a bit, getting warmer and looser, and I'm getting up off the ground.  "We gonna do this again?" he bellows in that gigantic taunt with which we are all so familiar.  "If we have to." I posture back at.  Much flatter than his.  I am trying to convey that I'm not interested in it, but I'm perfectly willing.

 

He postures another minute or so, I drop my defensive stance and posture back, and ask "Well?  You gonna dance alone all night?"

 

The he just laughs, we look at each other, laugh some more, and talk a few minutes.  He makes fixing his truck noises; I make getting home noises.  I started back to the bike and he yelled "you gonna try that crap again?"

 

I looked back at him.  "You let those fists get out of line again, and I'll do my best to beat them till they bruise."  He's got a bloody nostril and a black eye.  I've got two of each.  And a cut lip.  He was standing when I fell for a feint and took a straight-out sucker punch that turned me enough to trip over my own feet.  He wins.  I get on the bike and go home, he crawls back under the truck.

 

 

It was about two months later when I realized what I had learned. 1) Presence isn't about looking scary.  I was big and ugly; he was bigger-- much bigger-- and while not ugly, definitely harder-looking.  Everything in me told me I _should_ be scared of this guy, but something kept me from doing it.  Neither of us would qualify as being especially scary-looking, but he admitted to-- well I won't quote it, but being extremely scared when a guy rolled up, squealed to a stop, leapt off the bike screaming bloody murder, and was doubly-so when I grabbed him and dragged him out of the truck.  I admitted that I had a hard re-think when he just wouldn't stop standing up.  I even told him that I knew I was going to get beaten pretty badly, but for whatever reason, I hadn't been scared.  He told me that once the fight started, he wasn't scared, either: he just fell into habit.  Turns out he was a solider from the local base, so yeah-- _way_ better training that I had _ever_ had, which was none at all.  All my "practice" came from actual fights. Learning-on-the-fly, as it were, isn't nearly as efficient as a good instructor, and the military specializes in that sort of thing, from the physical to the mental.  Just like he said: once he had analyzed the situation, he just fell into habit.  I had known I was out-classed, but hadn't really appreciated just how much until we talked those few minutes.

 

I was setting up a new campaign, preparing for the end of the current one, when I made this connection.  PRE vs PRE wasn't what kept me from being scared.  It wasn't what caused my opponent (whose name I never asked.  It didn't seem appropriate)  to stop being scared when the fists started flying.  I mean, it was sort of "presence," but it was "presence of mind" more than it was force of personality.  Force of personality-- that's the zeal with which you act, the confidence and certainly that you project, even the efforts you make to sell that image of yourself.  But when someone does it to you, it's not a skill-versus-skill sort of thing: you can't "unposture" your opponent.  It is your determination to stand your ground, your willpower that forces you to ignore all the flash and gumption rolling at you, and see this thing through to the end, regardless of the outcome.

 

And that campaign was the beginning of the House Rule that PRE Attacks are defended against by EGO.  Now we _do_ have "Presence Defense (FD)" as a Characteristic, and it is modeled price-wise on PRE: only for defending against PRE Attacks, but that's because we already had that in play.  We have never interpreted it as "PRE: only for defending against PRE Attacks;" we only priced it by that model.  We have always interpreted it as the ability to see posturing for what it is; the ability to see how much of the bravado is genuine, and how much is for show-- the ability to see that maybe, just maybe, he's not as confident as he'd like you to think. 

 

Now to be fair, from the point of that entire realization, I had always meant to go back and remodel the cost as EGO: yadda yadda, but I never did.  Partly because we already had an EGO-Defense (MD) characteristic modeled that very same way, partly because no one ever really bought a whole lot of FD (remember that our older editions used Characteristic X "so much" as opposed to Characteristics + "so much," meaning that a little went a long way, and partly because moving from PRE vs PRE to PRE vs EGO was just enough of a difficult sell to the players that I didn't want to rattle things up any further.

 

 

So, if you're young and full of vinegar, and are looking for just the right experience to get your creative juices flowing, I highly recommend not getting yourself beat up because your temper is short and your mouth is quick.  There are better ways.  Perhaps none that stick with you as well, but still: there are better ways.

 

 

 

 

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On 1/20/2019 at 9:00 PM, Lord Liaden said:

This is a useful rule to explain how trained martial artists can break boards, concrete blocks etc. without breaking their hands, feet etc.

 

Firstly, I like the rule and this is largely tongue-in-cheek.  I am myself a black belt and have broken many boards and concrete blocks over the years and even a brick once.

 

Secondly, martial artists do these things using the following skills (in order of importance)

1-  Deception:  Most of the things they are breaking are either very breakable (pine vs. oak) or arranged in a way to maximize breakability (concrete slabs with spacers on the outer edges).

2-  Fitness:  A huge part of being a functional martial artist is being stronger and faster than your untrained counter-parts.  Lose the fitness and your many skills mean almost nothing at all.

3-  Conditioning:  By slamming your fists, shins and knuckles into hard objects on a repeat basis you eventually increase bone density and this helps a lot when it comes to not breaking your bones on the aforementioned objects.

 

Still, replace a stack of lame pine boards (I've broken 2 at once holding them by my finger tips while hitting with my free hand) with a single 1" thick piece of Oak and you'd see nothing but broken hands.

 

It's cheap stage magic folks and I say that as a former member of the cheap stage magicians guild.  ;)

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9 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

Firstly, I like the rule and this is largely tongue-in-cheek.  I am myself a black belt and have broken many boards and concrete blocks over the years and even a brick once.

 

Secondly, martial artists do these things using the following skills (in order of importance)

1-  Deception:  Most of the things they are breaking are either very breakable (pine vs. oak) or arranged in a way to maximize breakability (concrete slabs with spacers on the outer edges).

2-  Fitness:  A huge part of being a functional martial artist is being stronger and faster than your untrained counter-parts.  Lose the fitness and your many skills mean almost nothing at all.

3-  Conditioning:  By slamming your fists, shins and knuckles into hard objects on a repeat basis you eventually increase bone density and this helps a lot when it comes to not breaking your bones on the aforementioned objects.

 

Still, replace a stack of lame pine boards (I've broken 2 at once holding them by my finger tips while hitting with my free hand) with a single 1" thick piece of Oak and you'd see nothing but broken hands.

 

It's cheap stage magic folks and I say that as a former member of the cheap stage magicians guild.  ;)

 

I crumbled a cinder block with my bare hands one time. The effect was very cool both to watch and to do.

 

The secret was that the cinder block had previously been heated until it was weak and brittle but not heated in such a way that the cinder block was charred in any way.

 

It looked and felt like a normal cinder block until you tried to apply a moderate amount of pressure upon it.

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11 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

Firstly, I like the rule and this is largely tongue-in-cheek.  I am myself a black belt and have broken many boards and concrete blocks over the years and even a brick once.

 

Secondly, martial artists do these things using the following skills (in order of importance)

1-  Deception:  Most of the things they are breaking are either very breakable (pine vs. oak) or arranged in a way to maximize breakability (concrete slabs with spacers on the outer edges).

2-  Fitness:  A huge part of being a functional martial artist is being stronger and faster than your untrained counter-parts.  Lose the fitness and your many skills mean almost nothing at all.

3-  Conditioning:  By slamming your fists, shins and knuckles into hard objects on a repeat basis you eventually increase bone density and this helps a lot when it comes to not breaking your bones on the aforementioned objects.

 

Still, replace a stack of lame pine boards (I've broken 2 at once holding them by my finger tips while hitting with my free hand) with a single 1" thick piece of Oak and you'd see nothing but broken hands.

 

It's cheap stage magic folks and I say that as a former member of the cheap stage magicians guild.  ;)

No it’s not stage magic. Black belt here too. I’ve seen Pine that won’t break and guess what happens when you that happens? If you have good form, it hurts but not too much problem. Bad form? Broken hands.

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I was remembering the other day about how in a game I ran back in the 80's, where I pregenned the powers, I gave one character a weird Life Support: limbs can survive independently of the character.  I also gave him Regeneration... 3 or 4 BODY, I can't remember.  Part of the point to that was to let him reattach his limbs, which 3rd edition Champions didn't have a way to do.  Admittedly, it left the matter of losing a limb up to the GM.  

 

So now I'm writing up some Life Support equivalents to 5th/6th's limb recovery and resurrection adders for Healing/Regeneration, with a note that you have to buy them Usable On Others if you want to apply them like that. 

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On 3/11/2019 at 10:23 AM, Chris Goodwin said:

I was remembering the other day about how in a game I ran back in the 80's, where I pregenned the powers, I gave one character a weird Life Support: limbs can survive independently of the character.  I also gave him Regeneration... 3 or 4 BODY, I can't remember.  Part of the point to that was to let him reattach his limbs, which 3rd edition Champions didn't have a way to do.  Admittedly, it left the matter of losing a limb up to the GM.  

 

So now I'm writing up some Life Support equivalents to 5th/6th's limb recovery and resurrection adders for Healing/Regeneration, with a note that you have to buy them Usable On Others if you want to apply them like that. 

 

I knew a guy who did something similar for his agent zombies.  Upon taking body and losing a limb, the zombie would instantly summon the separated body part (like an animated arm or leg) which would continue to attack.  If the zombie and limb survived the attack, they would reattach defined as healing limbs and summons going away.

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