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Tryskhell

What does a Champion campaign really looks like ?

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Yeah its always good for people to know their players and what they will best respond to.  Gnome is right in that you need to set patterns that will encourage the best out of your players, but every group is different.

 

And Epstein didn't kill himself.

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11 hours ago, steriaca said:

While it is true that it is cliche for Supervillains to excape/jailbreak, you should NOT do this each and every time the heroes stop them. Also, avoid creating Agent Jerkface...at least not without some guys who are nicer to the heroes in your campaign in your organization who are higher in rank than Agent Jerkface. Take a look at Batman: The Animated Series. Detective Harvey Bullock is the Agent Jerkface of the Gotham Police. Forcently, his partner, Detective Renee Montoya is much more likeable police officer. Also there boss, Police Chief Ohara (yep, him) is even friendlier to the Bat-Family. And then there is Ohara's boss...

 

(Ok...so Ohara doesn't really appear in B:TAS. It seems like Police Commissioner James Gordon controls the GPD directly in the series. Which offically is not true, since the Police Chief handles the day to day stuff of the beat patrolman, and the Police Commissioner handles the funding and bureaucratic side of things.)

 

Again, I thought the tone of the post would get across that Agent Jerkface is intended to be a J. Jonah Jameson/Harvey Bullock/FBI guy from Die Hard type character.  He's an arrogant blowhard who is there to be a minor recurring antagonist/comic relief to the PCs.  I thought about suggesting that he ends up getting fired as head of the local PRIMUS division, which pleases the PCs greatly until they find out his new assignment -- liaison to their super team.

 

Something can be aggravating to the PCs, yet hilarious to the players at the same time.  We all have to deal with bureaucracy in the real world, nobody wants to actually play through it in the game.  On the other hand, it can be funny to describe all the frustrations that a character has to go through, offscreen.  You don't want to play it out, but sometimes it's funny to think about a guy in a super suit standing in line at the DMV.  Then he gets to the front and the lady is like "it's time for my break" and walks off.  That could be a good explanation for where a character went when Bob misses a game session.  Humor is a big part of the superhero genre, and knowing what your players think is funny will really help.

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10 minutes ago, massey said:

 

Again, I thought the tone of the post would get across that Agent Jerkface is intended to be a J. Jonah Jameson/Harvey Bullock/FBI guy from Die Hard type character.  He's an arrogant blowhard who is there to be a minor recurring antagonist/comic relief to the PCs.  I thought about suggesting that he ends up getting fired as head of the local PRIMUS division, which pleases the PCs greatly until they find out his new assignment -- liaison to their super team.

 

Something can be aggravating to the PCs, yet hilarious to the players at the same time.  We all have to deal with bureaucracy in the real world, nobody wants to actually play through it in the game.  On the other hand, it can be funny to describe all the frustrations that a character has to go through, offscreen.  You don't want to play it out, but sometimes it's funny to think about a guy in a super suit standing in line at the DMV.  Then he gets to the front and the lady is like "it's time for my break" and walks off.  That could be a good explanation for where a character went when Bob misses a game session.  Humor is a big part of the superhero genre, and knowing what your players think is funny will really help.

True, but you didn't actually state that this was one individual, and not the entire organization. It is important that you make sure that 'one bad apple' is exactly that, an individual not repersenting the organization as a whole.

 

Remember PRIMUS and UNTIL exist to assist the heroes, to free them up so they can do what they are suppose to do lawfully.

 

Man, I HATE that many gms lump PRIMUS, UNTIL, and even SAT in the same way as DEMON and VIPER and ARGENT. They are not criminals with badges.

 

And yes, they are some bad apples in the organizations. Just like there is a rair good apple in VIPER and such. Bad apples are usually discarded.

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Speaking of heroes' relating to the authorities, here's the Campaign Chronicle I mentioned of when the players and characters both mucked up and I, the GM, scrambled to keep up with them. At this time my frined Jeff wrote the chronicle.

 

A word of explanation: This was 4th edition, with characters originally written on 250 points. To fit in all the Powers people wanted for their super-mages, most characters had ctivation Rolls and hefty Side Effects. That doesn't explain all the events that turned the scenario into a train wreck... In this, the police are not happy to see the PCs, but I'm sure you'll agree they had reason.

 

(Warning: This is blow by blow, so very long. I won't be offended if no one reads it.)

------------

LIEBESTOD

 

Yes, it's campaign update time again. As you will see when you read on, we do it to ourselves again -- and I though our *last* adventure was a comedy of errors! Since then, things have been quiet for a bit since our little hoo-doo in Montana last time, so we are catching up with our lives...

 

Ian Malcolm has blown himself out of existance again (or at least to another plane), but we are confident he will eventually reappear. Actually, Corey just couldn't make it at the last second, so we expect Ian to reappear start of next adventure.

 

Victor has been thinking about the bilocational house we mentioned we live in. It has occured to him that many exotic spell components he needs are readily available in Babylon and at a good price given the exchange rate. He decides he will need to head over to our place and shmooze a bit, in hopes of being allowed over to Babylon to do some quick shopping.

 

Redeemer has been trying to do research on the Cult of the Doomsday Clock and how to find and return Father O’Herlihey's soul. He is also continuing his research on trying to overcome his inability to father an heir to be the next Champion of Light. This is unlikely to prove fruitful, as he is operating on a false assumption: that he is alive and thus capable of fathering children. His research on both fronts is hampered by his inability to readily locate the Library of Babylon, which he can only reach about 1 in 3 times he tries. He will do better at navigating Babylon's shifting streets when he buys up his Area Knowledge.

 

Jezeray has been continuing her research on lycanthropy hoping to find a cure for Andrew's condition, as well as running her little fortune-telling business. She has also been trying to talk Andrew into moving into Wetchley House with her. He hasn't yet agreed to, but is starting to lean that way.

 

The adventure proper opens with Jezeray sleeping over at Andrew's house. She is having a dream about being sucked into a bottle, when she is awakened by Andrew's thrashing. He is also having a nightmare and is talking in his sleep. His aura is flickering between himself and Black Fang, and he is speaking alternatingly in both voices. Black Fang is taunting Andrew, claiming he can satisfy Jezeray better than Andrew can. Andrew is denying it, but in that panicked way that suggests he really believes it. After he wakes up, they just snuggle up togther until they fall asleep again. In the morning she heads back to Wetchley House.

 

Victor comes over later that morning and Jezeray shows him around the house (he especially likes the Garden Floor, where he harvests several semi-rare herbs he can use in his alchemy). She then takes him out on a guided tour of Babylon. He shops for spell components on the way and gathers some dirt from Babylon so he can make his own EDM teleport potions to get here on his own in the future. They also swing by the Library of Babylon.

 

When they get back, they find Redeemer watching a news broadcast on TV. There is a hostage situation not far away in Tacoma's Hilltop area. It seems that Francine Jarovich (and her daughter Amber) is being held hostage by her shotgun toting husband, who has already shot the mailman, and is about ready to kill his "cheatin' wife". Although there is nothing magical about this, Redeemer decides he is going to get involved anyway, and we decide we had better follow.

 

We fly in invisibly, thanks to Redeemer. Just in case, Victor uses a lotion to make his skin malleable, and sculpts himself a temporary new face -- his current body is also hunted by the police. Jezeray is pleased when Redeemer suggests he sees no need for Zontar and that she should stay herself. The house is surrounded by cops who are trying to negotiate with the husand, who is in an upstairs bedroom with the hostages. Hovering outside the broken window, we decide that Victor will cast a Matter Barrier around the wife and daughter while Redeemer simultaneously gives the husband a Mental Illusion of getting shot in the face with a shotgun (poetic justice). It works, sort of... Redeemer's Illusion is real enough to knock the husband out before he can fire, but Victor blows his roll and we end up in a side effect entagle, and plunge out of the sky. The SWAT team runs up and starts beating on us. Luckily, the entangle protects us and we are still invisible. Redeemer teleports us out of the entangle back into the air.

 

Just before we fly off, Jezeray notices that the house is permeated by a malevolent evil aura. We stop to investigate. Redeemer can detect no magic at work in the house, but does notice that one of the cops is viciously beating on the unconsious husband with his truncheon. Redeemer scans him and determines he is being mentally influenced somehow. Other cops pull "officer Smith" off before we have to intervene. We fly to the side and land. Victor blusters his way into the crowd of cops as the man is being wheeled out on a stretcher, claiming to be a doctor. In his white lab coat and safety glasses, he does somewhat look the part, and the cops and paramedics buy it long enough for Victor to do some magical healing. The blue glow around the victim sets them off however, and Victor is pulled away.

Redeemer then walks up in full bishop's regalia -- and the cops all groan. *Him* they recognize. He is firmly told to bugger off, their paranormal interference is not appreciated with the Tacoma Police. He and Victor leave, cloak themselves, and join Jezeray, who has been hanging near the house in her "unnoticeable" state, checking out the aura in more detail. She determines that the house itself seems to be somehow possessed.

 

Back home, Artifex finally pops into Wetchley House to check on us. He is back from the War of Infinity (both sides have declared themselves the winner and fighting has ceased). He finds the house empty except for a terrified dog whose collar identifies him as "Sam". After scanning to make sure it is not a transformed Andrew, he leaves it alone, though Sam snaps at him (like Redeemer, he is disliked by animals, in his case because his Art nature conflicts with their Nature nature - if that makes sense). Terence tells Artifex where we are and what we are up to, so he cloaks himself and comes to join us.

 

Once he arrives he fills us in about the War being over etc., etc. We are amused at his new costume; having gotten over his somber phase, he is now in something resembling an iridesent toga. Getting down to busIness, he and Jezeray both retrocog. the house in their own respective fashions.

 

Jezeray blows her rolls and briefly believes that this is the work of Mephistopheles, but soons figures out that she is wrong. Artifex's retrocognition takes the form of talking to the house. It is a nice if somewhat complaint-prone structure. It certainly does not seem evil itself. It mentions a new resident who moved in three days ago. Under further questioning, it admits the new person isn't flesh and blood. The house also is not certain exactly where the new person is, except somewhere inside.

 

Victor uses his "Reagent Kit" (a magic detect that gets more detailed the more extra time is used, based on alchemical experimentation). After 5 minutes he has determines that the house was occupied 3 days ago by an astral being -- some sort of atavism, and that it gets stronger the more harm it causes. We speculate that if they get stronger by causing pain, then joy and happiness may make them weaker.

Redeemer decides we need to learn more by confronting the creature and decides to enter the house. He decides to set up a poor-man's Mind Link with Jezeray (i.e. Mental Illusions on Jezeray of her hearing in her head whatever Redeemer wants to say to her), so we will be able to track his progress in the house. Victor gives him a potion and tells him to drink it in an emergency, but does not tell him what it is. Artifex decides to go in with Redeemer while Jezeray and Victor remain outside. Incidentally, while we've been invisible, the police have finished all their work at the house for now and have cordoned it off with that yellow "police line -- do not cross" tape. It is now late in the evening.

 

Redeemer and Artifex enter the house. Once they leave the front of the house and the windows that look out on Jezeray and Victor, Line-of-sight for the Mental Illusion is broken (something we didn't think of). Redeemer decides to press on anyway, not realizing that Jezeray does not know. You see, mental powers continue to affect the victim even after being shut down, at least until an EGO roll is made. Hence Jezeray continues to hear a repetion of Redeemer's last thought - "I'm in the living room now, everything is still o.k.".

 

Redeemer and Artifex get to the center of the house, and Redeemer issues a challange to the atavism of the "come and get me" variety. Without waiting for an attack he then chugs the potion Victor gave him, still not knowing what it is! Oh, and what was it, you ask? Well, remember when we speculated that happy emotions would weaken the thing? Yes, in an effort to help that effect, Victor has given Redeemer a Love Potion!!! About the same time Artifex tries to create a merriment-based PRE attack by launching into an impromptue song-and-dance rendition of "Come on get Happy!".

 

Hearing the commotion, Jezeray and Victor rush into the house and start laughing at Artifex. As soon as Redeemer sees Jezeray, however, he falls madly in love with her! He realizes that between his magic and her psychic powers, their child would be the most powerful Champion of Light ever! He instant changes into "continental" garb and starts putting the make on Jezeray. Artifex and Victor whisper to her not to reject him, his pain would then feed the atavism. In fact, with her Mental Awareness, she just then spots a mental effect aimed at Redeemer. She decides that if the atavism is in contact with him, she needs to encourage his love as much as possible. She grits her teeth and throws herself into Redeemer's arms, professing her love for him. Just to add insult to injury, Artifex has produced a camcorder and is filming the whole scene for posterity (and possibly blackmail).

 

The atavism's suggestions to Redeemer are subtle and work at twisting his love into a demented sort of obsession. He teleports her and him into the bedroom and then begins drainign her life force, to make her more like him (even though he doesn't admit he is dead). She is unable to break his undead-strength grab.

 

Artifex and Victor track them down. Victor sees an empty bedroom but Artifex see's through the "nobody here" illusion Redeemer has cast and tells Victor what Redeemer is doing to Jezeray. Redeemer adds the Choking Tentacles to the Life Drain he is using and Jezeray passes out. Artifex cast an illusion on Jezeray of being a decaying corpse, but the illusion also includes (vs. Detect Magic) that the spell is transformative magic rather than an Image spell. Redeemer see's through the visual part of the illusion but not the type-of-magic part and so believes that Artifex has just tried to transform Jezeray into a decaying corpse.

 

Victor meanwhile finally manages to see through the "nobody here" illusion, but doesn't see through Artifex's illusion on Jezeray - so he sees a decayign corpse and thinks Redeemer has killed Jezeray by sucking all her life out!! Victor cast a hyper-gravity pocket on Jezeray hoping to make Redeemer drop her. When Artifex adds a downward TK pull to it, he does - in fact, she goes right through the floor and partially into the crawlspace below, taking enough damage to ensure she won't wake up soon. The illusion of her being a corpse is dropped now so Victor see's she is really alive and casts a Matter Barrier over her for protection.

 

About now, Redeemer makes an EGO roll to break the atavisms effect on him, but he is still in love with Jezeray and hence is horrified by what he has tried to do to her. The atavism takes a new tack, trying to suggest "Yes, you've hurt her horribly, you don't deserve to live, why don't you just end it all". Redeemer however decides he must have vengeance on Artifex for trying to transform Jezeray into a corpse, but then decides she is still in danger from him and must be saved first. As Redeemer grabs Jezeray the bedsheets suddenly fly off the bed and entangle Artifex (this is the atavism's poltergeist abilities at work). Redeemer tries to teleport him and her out of the house, but the Matter Barrier around Jezeray is hardened, so she is left behind much to Redeemer's surprise. Victor drops the Matter Barrier around Jezeray and feeds her a Healing Potion. It isn't enough to wake her up, but she will recover soon.

 

Redeemer blasts through the bedroom window, move-by grabs Jezeray and begins flying down the hallway toward the front door with her at high speed. Artifex is still tangled up, so Victor casts an Expand Matter at Jezeray (Growth with no mass increase). Sudden;y she is much bigger then the hallway - she and it take considerable damage as they grind to a stop. Redeemer, who somehow kept his grip on her, teleports them outside. Victor and Artifex follow. Having seen Victor heal Jezeray, redeemer decides he is maybe not one of the bad guys and asks him to do it again (she is pretty badly hurt at this point). Victor gives her one Healing Potion, enough that she will recover in awhile. Before Redeemer can resume hostilities with Artifex, Terence suddenly thinks to use a PRE attack via the Mind Link to inform Redeemer he is dead, and make him believe it. As usual, he promptly collapses into a pile of bones from which state he will not recover until he restores his disbelief in his death.

 

We take the opportunity to cure him of the effect of the Love Potion. Also, Jezeray is shrunk back to normal and further healed. Based on what we have seen, Terence recognizes the atavism as a House Haunter: once they possess a house they can affect the material world in certain ways (like making mental suggestions and poltergiest effects), but only within the confines of the house they have occupied. One other problem is that attacking it is not easy -- it is nearly undetectable except by Mental Awarness when it attacks (and even that is only a non-targeting PER roll!) and its location is literally wherever its attention is at any given second, so it moves instantly. Moreover, if we hurt it too much it will just abandon the house and haunt somewhere else later. Once out of the house, it will be purely astral and we will have no good way to fight it.

 

After mush discussion we come up with a plan. Artifex will spell-hack Redeemer's Wall of Solid Darkness into a Wall of Mental Defense, which we will trap the creature within so it cannot flee the battle. Redeemer will then stay outside the battle to keep the wall up. Artifex -- who has no Ego or affects desoid attacks -- will become phantasmal and attack either with spells or with the alchemical rockets and grenades that Victor equips him with. He will also have his STR boosted by a potion in case the critter can attack him physically in his phantasmal state. Jezeray will channel Zontar, who will use his EGO-attack spells against the critter, but will also be boosted by a SPD Aid potion of Victor’s to increase his rate of fire. Victor has 2 rockets that affect desolid he wil use. Once those are gone, he will make himself useful however he can, or will try to make himself a target so the rest of us stay up longer.

 

Having set everything up and chugged our potions in advance, we reenter the house. Once inside, Artifex casts a spell that causes a miasma of despair within the room we are in. This lures the atavism out, which tries to suggest to Artifex that he should just end it all as he is a worthless loser, but since he expects it and isn't despairing the way it thinks he is, it has no effect. Artifex makes his PER roll and takes a shot at the atavism, bit misses. Victor shoots where Artifex did but also misses. Zontar, who is using his Cerulean Spray (1 hex area EGO-attack) hits. Since he is currently boosted to SPD 6, he goes next and hits again. Artifex hits it with a rocket when it tries to mentally attack him again, and Zontar maybe hits; we aren't sure. Victor misses again.

 

Out of rockets, he instead pulls out a different rocket while cackling out loud about how this will easily blow it away. It buys it, and tries to attack him next phase by throwing a TV at him with its poltergeist powers. Zontar, however, had been holding his higher DEX and remembers what they told him about it: "It literally is wherever its attention is at any given moment". He realizes that if it is moving the TV, then that's where its attention is! Just as it throws it, Zontar hurls a more powerful but non-area effect Cerulean Spear at the TV set; it hits and the atavism is dispersed, though its essence is still contained in the Mental Defense bubble.

 

In theory, at least, the atavism could reassemble itself and wake up eventually. Dispersing it more would help, but we don't know how much would be required to ensure it never recovered. Jezeray knows that ghosts can eat any atavism they can choke down their throats, so tries to call in her ghost friends to feast on the leftover essence -- it won't taste good, but it is "nutritious" to ghosts so they would probably eat it if she asked. However, when she starts scanning for her ghost friends, she can only find about half of them; the others are not to be found. Moreover, while many fixed location ghosts are also missing, most of the missing are of the rarer free roaming variety. Jezeray instead lures in a number of small atavism (which also eat other atavisms) to chow down. What little is left we disperse as best we can, and are satisfied the House Haunter won't ever be back.

 

Artifex scans the city for magic that might be affecting the local ghosts and homes in on a signature. When we find it, it is a bowl sitting on the ground behind some shrubs beside a building. Written around the rim is "Able was I ere I saw Elba" and the inside of the bowl has a maze pattern. The center of the bowl is a hole. When we pick the bowl up we discover that the hole attaches to a bottle buried under the ground. This is a ghost trap -- the bowl acts as a lure to draw the ghost in; once over the hole, it is sucked into the bottle, which is a variation on a Solomon's Bottle. This trap in fact has already captured a ghost. Jezeray contacts the mind of a panicked woman inside. She free's the ghost with the intent of then questioning her, but the panicked ghost just flies off screaming in terror. Artifex scans and finds at least a dozen more such traps within the city.

 

This is where we called it a night. Next session will obviously begin with our investigation of the ghost traps and an attempt to track down who is capturing ghosts and why. Ironically, Dean tells us that this problem is what we were supposed to really be dealing with this session - the House Haunter was only supposed to draw us in to discovering the absence of ghosts. Our comedy of errors made that into the entire adventure however. Perhaps even more ironically, his original plot called for the Imp of the Perverse to show up and mess with our attempts to deal with the House Haunter. He threw that idea out about the time Redeemer chugged the Love Potion -- who needs the Imp of the Perverse to mess us up, we do it to ourselves quite nicely...

-------------------

Dean Shomshak

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On 11/3/2019 at 2:54 PM, BoloOfEarth said:

 

I'm in eastern Michigan, so it'd be a bit of a commute for you, I'm afraid.  :winkgrin:  But thanks for the compliment.  To be honest, some weeks' adventures are better than others.  But it helps that all of us have been playing together for years, in some form or another, so a lot of stuff gets forgiven.

If you ever take the game online....

My old gaming group was together for 15+ years. Yeah, stuff gets forgiven but if a player/GM crosses a line enough times then gets defensive about it, it can be impossible to really forgive and you have to separate yourself for your own mental health.

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On ‎11‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 11:50 AM, steriaca said:

Remember PRIMUS and UNTIL exist to assist the heroes, to free them up so they can do what they are suppose to do lawfully.

 

Man, I HATE that many gms lump PRIMUS, UNTIL, and even SAT in the same way as DEMON and VIPER and ARGENT. They are not criminals with badges.

 

And yes, they are some bad apples in the organizations. Just like there is a rair good apple in VIPER and such. Bad apples are usually discarded.

 

I've used PRIMUS as both aid and hindrance to the heroes (often both within the same campaign).  Unless the heroes are officially sanctioned, then PRIMUS and UNTIL don't exist to assist the heroes (except maybe in the meta-game sense).  Rather, they're the official government way of dealing with supervillains and super-criminal organizations like VIPER, DEMON, and ARGENT.  (This is assuming the heroes aren't officially sanctioned.)  Whether PRIMUS or UNTIL assist the heroes depends a lot on how the heroes act.  If they're not willing to cooperate with PRIMUS, then is there really reason for PRIMUS to cooperate with the heroes?  That doesn't mean they have to try and arrest them or hinder them at every turn, but they certainly don't have to go out of their way to help them either. 

 

I should add that I've instituted something very similar to Bob Greenwade's Oregon Hero Sanction in most of my Champions campaigns. The heroes are encouraged to join the local Paranormal Activities Board (PAB), which among other things grants them limited police powers and access to various low-security government records.  The sticking point with the players is that the heroes do have to register their identities with the PAB and have their powers tested; my players are paranoid about such info getting stolen by supervillains.  In my last campaign, only 2 of the 7 heroes registered with the New England PAB - one was a public ID brick and wasn't all that worried about his info being out there, and the other was a mentalist who first got some professional help creating a good enough false identity that she could give to the PAB  So in practice, PRIMUS could only officially work with those two (though most everybody knew they would share all official info gained with their teammates).

 

And as to bad apples in an organization usually being discarded... really?  You must live in a rosier world than I, or maybe never watch the news.  (Catholic priests, literally dozens of police brutality incidents, extremists or criminals within otherwise decent organizations -- take your pick.)  More often than not, it seems like it takes a joint act of God and Congress to get rid of such bad apples.  That doesn't mean that the whole organization is bad by default.  But having some persistent bad apples is certainly within the realm of possibility - and can add to good in-game tension and fun roleplaying.  You just need some good apples to provide balance and a good contrast. 

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Quote

And yes, they are some bad apples in the organizations. Just like there is a rair good apple in VIPER and such. Bad apples are usually discarded.

 

Yeah I don't like needing them to be enemies.  I like having them once in a while be a problem or have a bad apple in them ,as you put it, but not being criminal thug morons or drug addicted tyrants.  SHIELD was handled well in Marvel Comics as an overall basically good organization which sometimes had different priorities or interests than the heroes, which put them in conflict at times.

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On November 5, 2019 at 3:08 PM, Cassandra said:

The very first Champions Adventure way back in the 1st Edition had a group of heroes recruited by UNTIL to rescue a VIPER defector.  They went up against a group of mercenary Supervillains.  If they saved the VIPER Defector it led to a mission to recover some microfilm that would expose a VIPER Base.   If they got the microfilm they would raid a VIPER base and captured the key to the VIPER computer network.

 

 

 

 

What was it called and where can I find it?!

 

Seriously: this knowledge tells me that there is a hole in my 1e collection.  I have to fill that immediately.   :)

 

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3 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

What was it called and where can I find it?!

 

Seriously: this knowledge tells me that there is a hole in my 1e collection.  I have to fill that immediately.   :)

 

 

VIPER's Nest...?

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12 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Microfilm Madness, it was reprinted and bundled with an expanded adventure in Champions 3 as well.  Its a pretty good starting game

 

 

It's also  in the 4th Edition VIPER supplement.

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Wait.

 

I know where I've read that.

 

It was in a gaming magazine-- Space Gamer.  I have that issue, bought because it had a Champions adventure in it.  ( I have to add that to my catalogue!).  However, being published in '83, it would be a 2e module.

 

I do recall that it was in the 4e Viper book (I have to tell you, I don't even _use_ Viper, and still regard that book as a high-water mark for organization books!).  I mean, I _guess_ Combat in Christopher Park (from the 3e Campaign Book) was _something_ like it...  well, it used a similar device in the defecting Viper Agent, but I don't recall that leading to the nutty race for the library that Microfilm Madness had.

 

So can anyone tell me if there was, for certain, a pack-in adventure for the 1e rules book?

 

 

Thanks again!

 

(And to apologize for this derailment, I promise to pay my thread tax with a review of the Youth Group campaign from this summer for the OP to examine, per the tax rate for this thread ;)  )

 

 

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Thanks, folks.

 

On the plus side, I know I own it (just not in its original form: I have the Space Gamer reprint of it and the 4e Viper Sourcebook and the 3e Campaign Book "Assault on Tanghal Tower" revamping of it.  At any rate, I've updated my catalogue to include HERO-relevant issues of Space Gamer (details later; it's way too late and I have to work tomorrow)--

but would someone shoot me a PM to explain how to edit my sig line?  I went away for a few years and when I came back, the controls were different!  :lol:

 

(I'd like to put a link to my HERO catalogue in my sig line, right there with my favorite Ghost Angel quote from years ago.  There's a Zornwill quote I love, too, but it's _way_ too long for a sig line)

 

 

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17 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I do recall that it was in the 4e Viper book (I have to tell you, I don't even _use_ Viper, and still regard that book as a high-water mark for organization books!).

 

Likewise. When I began my first Champions campaign back in college, I didn't have sourcebooks and didn't think I needed them: I knew the Marvel and DC Universes, and figured I could write my own villains, NPC heroes, and organizations based on that inspiration. (And did, and by and large it workedout really well.) Of course I had a HYDRA homage, though (not wanting to go snakey with VIPER) I called it Terror, Incorporated -- not knowing the CU (such as it was back then) had a villain team of that name. But 4e VIPER showed I could do so much more with my International Semi-Fascist Evil Agent Group than I had been. I still rate it one of the best Champions supplements.

 

Dean Shomshak

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13 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Microfilm Madness was included in the box set with the 3 little dice, the street map, and Champions Rules as I recall.

 

 

Thanks.

 

I never owned a boxed set of 1e.  My GM was using 1e when I was recruited into the group, and if he had that book, then I have to assume he had already run the group through that adventure or decided not to use it at all.  Either way, I never knew it existed as part of actual published game materials.  I ran across it in Space Gamer, and have always felt it was "official," considering the author.  For anyone interested, that issue also had two-column "sourcebooks" for VIPER, PRIMUS, and GRAB.

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And on to the thread tax!

 

You want to know what a Champions campaign looks like?

 

I would absolutely _love_ to tell you that every campaign is well-planned out, well-researched, and scripted in minutiae.  In fact, I _will_ tell you that, but not until I'm ready to lie to you.  :lol:

 

My youth group from this summer passed started strong!  Seven players from 11 to 14 in age, all ready to take up the mantle as superheroes.  Now to be fair, I _intended_ to have something planned: I even had a rough sketch and kind of an outline of where I wanted to start and where I wanted to end up, with a couple of thoughts on how far each piece needed to go each session to stay "on schedule," as it were.  I had a crib list of "neat but unnecessary" things that could be added if we got too far ahead, and a similar list of things that could be dropped if we got too far behind, all without really impacting the overall story.  I knew I wouldn't have time to create a whole new detailed setting (and to be fair: I knew from years and years of doing this just how unnecessary they are, but still: you want to have _something_, just in case, right?  Decades of well-placed sourcebooks have convinced us of that), and that I wouldn't really have time to digest an commit to memory a new one.

 

Okay, what have I got on tap?  Millennium City?   no..   Vibora Bay? no...  Hudson C-- what the Hell, dude?!  These are _kids_!  You can't take them to Hudson City!   

 

It was also at that point that I realized you can't really take them to _any_ of these cities.  I hadn't paid it much mind before, but these cities as presented aren't comic book cities.  They have the trappings, but they are all cynical adult cities presented in books that focus on adult concerns and adult issues-- well, they're just not especially inviting to new players, as there is a baked-in flavor to all of them, and a complete lack of wonder that would interest someone in exploring them.  Especially Gotham  Hudson.

 

Crap.  Let's look through what some of my players (from my regular groups) might have.  I found a few modules from games I don't play; some from games I've never heard of-- most of those had crisp, clean, twelve-page adventures, too, if anyone's wondering), but nothing I could really devote myself to digesting between my work and play schedule as-is.  Worse, time was running out.

 

Fine.  Old Faithful: use what you've already got, and take it back to what it was a few years ago-- before you all started adulting so damned hard.  We were going to play in Campaign City, the city I was introduced to in 1981 at my first Champions session (it wouldn't get named until about five years later), and which I have been the keeper and protector (and urban developer of) since about '92 or so...  It's where all my other Champions games are, and I know it cold, from it's founding to its future (we have set both Pulp games and Cyberpunk games in Campaign City, at different points in its history.  More out of "this is _our_ special place, dammit!" than any real need for timelines or what-have-you)

 

I've got an adventure and a fictional location.  Well, I _almost_ have an adventure.  I started fleshing out my adventure.  By the time the Char Gen party rolled around, I had a couple of scenarios lined up and pointing toward the plot.  Not as far along as I wanted to be at this point, but as long as I was ahead of them, I was golden.

 

Now I say "Char Gen party" because I have found over the years that the best thing for players-- even old, experienced ones!-- is just that: a party-type mood for Character Generation.  Dude, I mean "bring a cake."   Seriously.  Bring a cake; bring ice cream.  Bring drinks and salty crunchy snacks.  Set out peanuts and pretzels.  Bring genre-appropriate music and play it (but not so loudly as to be distracting).  Decorate a little: a handful of balloons and tissue streamers is _cheap_.  And if you've done this for twenty-odd years, you'll have an inordinate amount of decorations-- be festive, but don't go nuts.

 

I hear all the time on the boards "oh, but then there's that grind of character generation...."

 

I have never had a grind of character generation.

 

I suspect it's the party.  If you make something fun, then by God, it is _fun_.  

 

Set places for your players at the table, and each place should have pencils (at least two, because they'll want to fiddle with one), a cheap calculator, four character sheets, a few sheets of blank paper (people like to scratch out math, even when they have a calculator, and they like to doodle when they need to wait), a brand-new eighty-eight-cents 8-pack of Crayolas (spring for the Crayolas!  They work better on smooth blank white paper than any cheap-o crayons ever will!) and any kind of prep notes you want the players to have.  Big hint: keep those notes _short_.  Make sure they will fit on a single page with a _large_ font.  Don't make it look like homework!  If possible, shoot for half a page, and put festive decorations above and below it.  Each place should also have an empty paper plate and plastic cutlery to encourage snacking. ;)

 

The table should have some thematically-appropriate educational decor.  I like to use a dozen or so comic books appropriate to the theme I wish to run (I have a few old Teen Titans from the 80s I fell into at a yard sale twenty years or so ago: I like the lack of soap opera but some slight friction between the characters, the cooperation, the brightly-lit scenes, and the _beautiful_ artwork and the colors, so I use them a lot.  They're pretty beat up now.  :lol:  )  and appropriate game materials-- HERO books, specifically.  Now I am at an advantage there, as I play mostly 2e, so my books are _way_ thinner and less-intimidating than those folks playing 5 and 6e.  The art reinforces the theme (if you want to play supers, don't set out Star HERO, for example) that you're wanting to play, and anyone reading them is accidentally getting exposed to either source material or useful game info.  To this end, I've always got at least four copies of the 2e rules laying about, and at least one of the 3e rulebook from the boxed set (it's way thinner than the glue-bound all-in-one, so it's less off-putting) in case someone is more drawn to the busier artwork.  I've ever considered having a couple of those covers printed and replacing the original covers on my more "thoroughly-loved" 2e books.  :lol: 

 

  If you do play later editions, I suggest hitting up eBay for a few spares of Sidekick or Basic.  Consider gluing attractive covers on them to generate interest.  For what it's worth, I find the light-blue-on-black of Re-Sidekick to be friendlier than the jarring contrast of emerald-on-black or the absolute eyesore of chrome-yellow-on-blue, but I'd still consider hitting up the discount bin at a comic book store and finding some nice covers you can just glue onto the books, if only in the interest of reinforcing the theme.  No matter what you do, I promise Sidekick / Basic is going to be _way_ less off-putting for new players than any of the full rules books / encyclopedias.

 

As a note: if you have access to inexpensive Kraft paper (big wide rolls of brown or green paper; lighter weight are often called "masking paper" because of their intended use), make a tablecloth out of it.  Not only is it recyclable (or throw-away-able and biodegradable), but it's great for writing on: you can doodle, make notes, whatever-- and it's _not_ a "school environment:" it's a party where I can mess up anything I want to!  Barring that, if you have some old single-side gift wapping paper, tape it from the back until it's wide enough to be a table cloth, then lay it plain-side up.  It'll work fine.

 

pace about and talk to them as a group-- about anything-- and see how they interact with each other.  Encourage them to get up now and again by doing the same, all the while discussing whatever comes to mind, but keep bringing it back to the game and their characters.  Toss out some teasers about the adventure you have planned-- this is _important_!-- and pay keen attention to how they react.  It's _way_ easier to make changes _before_ you begin then after things are rolling!  Tease out things from them about what sort of character they would like to play (while keeping in mind how that sort of character fits into what you have in mind: you may suggest slight alterations-- LATER!-- to include or drop certain things to better-suit your adventure).

 

Everyone's relaxed, everyone is talking....   If they know HERO, dive right into character generation.  If they don't, shoot down through the characteristics and give them a sentence or three to explain them.  Explain how build points work, then briefly touch on disadvantages.  While touching on disadvantages, question those folks who have an idea what sort of character they would like to be on the _personalities_ of those characters.  Mention, here and there, how this or that could gain them extra build points by listing it as part of their personality and making sure to role-play it.

 

Draw out their ideas for backgrounds and day-to-day "out of costume" life (unless out of costume isn't going to be a big part of your game.  For new players-- particularly young ones, I'd suggest that it not be, but hey: you do you) and again: mention how this or that could be worth extra build points as well.

 

Most importantly, get them talking _to each other_ about their characters.  If you have to, bring out two or three of your (more simple: don't use the complicated builds) old characters (preferably at a beginning power level) and talk BRIEFLY about them, just to get the ball rolling.  (use villains if you've been a GM all your life)  Most of the time, they will begin their own narratives (it's a fun, festive environment, right?) and refine their ideas to things that work well _together_  (except that one nitwit who dresses like pretty much everybody who wants to be unique-- you can get those people by the busload) who will want to be Wolverine or Batmunch or some other "I"m a loner!" type).

 

Pay attention.  Find the two (yes: the _two_) people who are the "most ready" to put things to paper and start making their characters.  At no point prior to this are you going to say "I want you guys to pair up" or "pick a partner" or anything else.  You don't want them breaking into little mini-teams, because before it's over, you've created competition between your players, and you do _not_ want that!  But when you think you've got two of them ready to start, sit down with _both_ of them and get busy.  Yeah, for reasons I have never understood, most GMs _hate_ doing character building with more than one person at a time.  I prefer it, and for several reasons:

 

No one likes to feel singled out, and that feeling kill the party atmosphere, one player at a time.  That's number one.

 

This is a _social_ event, and keeping it to a group of three (the two of them and you) is more social than one person versus the boss.  Plus, as you work with one, the other will kibitz, asking questions or making suggestions--  my favorite is "ooh!  You should do _this_, then my guy can do _that_, and we'd be like a team!", and if you do this right, it happens _all the time_!  Seriously!    The one that tickled me the most was in my college days was "and then we could be sisters!"  That's number two.

 

You only have to explain things half as often: that's number three, but it's _huge_, so we'll call it number THREE.  There.  That's better.

 

The kibitzer will often run back and forth to "the party," bringing that mood and energy back to the player you are working with.   Number four.

 

Now this is also important:  work with _both_ of them, at the same time.  Doing characteristics?  Do one player, then the other.  Or switch to whoever piped up first.

 

I won't lie, it's a bit aggravating until you get the hang of it-- and when additional kibitzers show up, don't rebuke them. Try something like "Hey, Steve; can you grab me another drink, please?"  and when he gets back, you can hit "you guys are next-- who's doing this with you?"  and that usually solves the problem.  If he doesn't already have a buddy, he's going to run back to find one, and odds are they are going to start working more detail into their character concepts.

 

Now we know that fine-tuning a concept takes time.  So what you do is get a working character: get the basic powers, disadvantages, skills, etc that make the character and you are _done_ with that person.  Tell them that "we're going to try this character, and we'll see how you like him/her/them/it." and then finish up with the other player.  If the other player is having a hard time or is well-away from finishing, then glance out for someone who is currently not engaged with someone else (or a person from a threesome) and invite them to start working on the character.  Before _any_ player gets up from character generation, make sure they have a solid grasp on the "to hit" system you are using, and at least a rough idea of how to count damage and subtract DEF.  Tell them they can earn some extra EP by having some sparring practice with some of the other new characters, and ask them to tell you if they would like to "tweak" anything based on the results having sparred with "a few" of the other characters.  Be sure to mention something along the lines of "remember: you're just sparring.  You guys are allies (or friends or whatever) after all."  This has the nice side-effect of getting them talking about _how_ they might know each other, and sometimes even gets them working on a bit of shared history to boot!

 

Yes; there's a reason for that sparring, too; several, really.  First and foremost: it keeps them busy instead of just waiting around, and it keeps them focused just a bit longer on the game instead of the snacks and non-gaming conversations.  They get some practice figuring "to hit," rolling to hit, rolling and counting damage.  Priceless stuff.  It keeps them busy.  It gives them a feel for the character _before_ the game begins (at least in a rough way).  Be sure to keep an ear out while they are doing this:  you can gently correct any mistakes they are making while counting damage or figuring "to hit."  Don't bother with anything else, as you haven't told them about range modifiers, anyway.  Just keep that party mood going.  You're just listening to see how they play.  If they spar around a bit, they get an EP.  If they _roleplay_ while they spar around, they get another one.  If they come back wanting tweaks to the character for solid reasons, give them another one: they are paying attention and really thinking about what they want.  Reward that.  Yes: three EP for character generation is ridiculous!   Don't sweat it.  It only happens once, and they're going to spend it tweaking anyway.  So what?  Did you play to have fun, or for the accounting?  Think about it as that sign-on bonus you got when you switched jobs. ;)  It never happened again, did it?  Certainly you can't say it hurt anything.  :lol:

 

I told you if one players was "stuck" or way behind to bring over another player anyway.  For one, this keeps character generation rolling.  For another, perhaps going back through this with another person while you still work with the "stuck" person will help them to understand something.  if not, just keep working.  When possible, pick them in two for all the same reasons.

 

Once everyone is up and running with a preliminary character, see who is grouped with who, and get some feedback.  Who's ready for tweaking?  Don't spend too much time on it, especially with new players, as they won't even know what can be tweaked until they are more familiar with the system.  Small tweaks you can do one-on-one with the player, more complicated (or multiple small) tweaks do in pairs, just to expose more people to what you are doing.  When everyone is happy, grab one of you old underpowered characters and be the villain against two or three people at a time.  Play well, but play to lose. ;)  When everyone has had a chance to beat you up, award the experience we talked about above.  Explain that it can be spent right now, it can be "banked" for later, or it can be used to help offset any characters who's points totals were off by a couple of points (remember I told you not to waste a lot of time on complex builds or matching points totals perfectly, right? ;)    That's because, for new players, anyway, they are going to tweak these characters a couple more times, as they learn about the system.  Despite the emphasis on perfect math, at this point in their gaming careers, it's just not that important.)

 

As you are sparring with your players (giving them tips, like how to coordinate attacks or set each other up for maximum effectiveness; etc), talk to them both in and out of character:  "Where did you pesky heroes come from?"

Okay, so how do your guys know each other?

"Decide, Hero:  capture me, or save the child?"

How does your character make a living when he's not in costume?

 

Keep the focus on the _characters_, but remember it's a party.  Nothing heavy, and don't be a downer when they're having fun.  Answer any game-related questions they have just as honestly as you can, but also as simply as you can.  When the mood settles, and the conversation starts to drift to "real stuff," be _quick_:  don't let it.  Don't let it drift, but _immediately_ start into the next session:

 

Okay, guys; I'm glad everybody showed up; I hope you all had a good time, and I'm really pumped to see who excited you are about your new characters; I can't _wait_ to see how awesome they are in the game.   The next meeting is the first play session, but please be thinking about your characters, how they interact with each other, and if they really are exactly what you think they should be  (HINT: _never_ say "exactly what you wanted," because that will bite you in the ass:  "well I didn't _want_ to waste six extra points on that skill you recommended!  I _wanted_ another die of Laser Eyes!").  "what they should be" is far more suggestive of extra-character concessions: does he work well with his team and does he fit into the narrative we've been constructing?  What can I tweak that I think better represents this concept?  Things like that.

 

 

Next meeting we will start into the adventure, so be ready!  (assign snack duty, if this is something you've discussed prior to the character generation party).

 

And lastly, be completely prepared to have a very _short_ first session, advancement-wise, as more than half the time, there will be considerable one-on-one tweaking of builds or powers at that session  (toss an old villain or two on the table-- and maybe a map this time) and let them spar some more, but with one or more of the other players being villains.  Don't get them in the habit of actually rolling dice against each other, especially now that they are really invested in their characters ;)   .    When you plan that first session, remember to give it _two_ endpoints: the one you'd _like_ to get to, and one about halfway (time-wise) to that point.  I'll bet you a dollar you use that first one. ;)

 

 

 

And that's what I've been doing for decades now.

 

And it must work, because I seem to be the only guy who never has complaints about character generation sessions (other than the cost of snacks these days!).

 

 

I hadn't meant to get sidetracked with character generation, but it's just so damned fun, and I'd hate to see you become one of the "man do I hate Session Zero" guys....

 

 

I hope I've paid my "threadjacking" penalty.  I've got some things I have to get done, but I'll try to "show you the campaign" soon.

 

 

 

Duke

 

 

 

 

 

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It was also at that point that I realized you can't really take them to _any_ of these cities.  I hadn't paid it much mind before, but these cities as presented aren't comic book cities.  They have the trappings, but they are all cynical adult cities presented in books that focus on adult concerns and adult issues-- well, they're just not especially inviting to new players, as there is a baked-in flavor to all of them, and a complete lack of wonder that would interest someone in exploring them

 

Yeah there needs to be some four color stuff put out, fun campaign cities for fun campaigns that don't feel so Image/Iron Age

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I admit, I have a lot of trouble looking at Millennium City as Iron Age. It may have been struck by tragedy, but it was rebuilt bright and shining, ultra-modern and optimistic. It definitely does have mundane crime, but that's decidedly the minority. It's also replete with supervillainy, but for a superhero campaign that's not a bad thing. IMO neither are adult concerns and adult issues. I'm an adult and play with adults. But if you're running games for younger players, just emphasize the "gee whiz!" elements of MC. I mean, the MC Zoo has two alien animals, a time-lost wooly mammoth, and a shrunken Godzilla analogue! :cool:

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On 11/16/2019 at 10:09 AM, Duke Bushido said:

Wait.

 

I know where I've read that.

 

It was in a gaming magazine-- Space Gamer.  I have that issue, bought because it had a Champions adventure in it.  ( I have to add that to my catalogue!).  However, being published in '83, it would be a 2e module.

...

 

So can anyone tell me if there was, for certain, a pack-in adventure for the 1e rules book?

 

I've never heard of an adventure being included with 1e. If someone can prove me wrong - with a scan of the cover - I would be delighted. I would not be delighted by a scan of the Microfilm Madness magazine article, which I own.


2e and 3e had Vipers' Nest.

My impression of Microfilm Madness was that it was intended as an expansion of Vipers' Nest. The same issue of Space Gamer had official writeups of UNTIL and VIPER. The McGuffin in the Tanghal Tower scenario wasn't microfilm. It was stolen scientific samples. The two scenarios didn't replace each other.

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21 minutes ago, assault said:

The two scenarios didn't replace each other.

 

It was not my suggestion that one did replace the other; sorry for any confusion.  It was my assertion that one was _derived_ from the other, as they had very similar plot points, structure, and if I remember correctly, authors. 

 

But essentially: there is a Viper defector, and success of his defection depends on getting the mcguffin before the bad guys do. 

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7 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Yeah there needs to be some four color stuff put out, fun campaign cities for fun campaigns that don't feel so Image/Iron Age

Yes, but I don't see it really as that big of a problem.  I run HC as gritty, pulpy, campy and pretty much anything else.  Sure the authors intent is grim dark Gotham.  But for me the reality is it is the only modern RPG city ever printed.  Why? it is literally the only one that actually has a usable map.  MC is just a bust IMO.  Vaguely written and no map worth the name.  Vibora Bay is a great started but unfinished product.  No maps worthy of the name. 

 

I even have a copy of the HC map modified for the 20-40's.  Removed the interstate highways and inserted rail lines.  Great for pulp and CoC horror. 

 

I use HC for many of my games, not just Hero/ Champions. 

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5 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

But essentially: there is a Viper defector, and success of his defection depends on getting the mcguffin before the bad guys do. 

 

That wasn't in the 2e version. My copy of the 3e Campaign book isn't handy, but I'm thinking that both versions are essentially the same.

 

The defector happens in the Combat in Christopher Park scenario, which happens after the Tanghal Tower encounter (and before storming the Nest).

I don't think there's any particular evidence for the scenarios to be derived from each other other beyond being part of a matched set. No evidence has been presented that Microfilm Madness was published before Vipers' Nest. The most likely situation is that it was written afterwards, or perhaps at the same time and not used when 2e was published.

On the thread topic: the extended Vipers' Nest sequence, and the comparable adventures in 4e Champions, provide a basic framework for the beginning of a campaign. They're not especially sophisticated, but any GM worthy of their salt will start trying to expand from and improve on them. You have to start somewhere though.

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