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Brian Stanfield

What makes a complete game "complete"?

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On 3/10/2020 at 9:23 AM, ScottishFox said:

 

From what I see at the 3 tables a week I'm either playing or DM'ing at (1 HERO, 2 D&D currently) is that 75-80% of the players fall in the "I'll show up to play" bucket where they'll buy products for leisure reading or to make their characters, but they have no interest in running a game and negative interest in building their own content.

 

I used to build custom content all the time, but with family obligations and work I don't have that kind of time any more.

 

Today the rarest and most mysterious creature in gamedom is the active GM/DM. That is ACTIVELY running.  (If you have run games in the past you are not a GM, you are a former GM.)

 

Of that tiny population the least seen species is the virtually extinct "world builder" and the equally endangered "home brew" GM.

 

Every gamer I talk to in the flesh claims to be one and yet EVERY SINGLE ONE spends what little game time they have running pre-built material or hastily tweaked pre-built material. Or rather every single one with one exception. I do know one very accomplished GM that runs original adventures. But they will not touch Hero as it simply takes too much time to use. 

 

With my FLGS closing recently, I suddenly no longer have any gaming commitments so I have dusted off my historical miniatures and found my paint brushes. 

 

But I have also been able to find more time to tinker with RPG adventure concepts.  Not playing at a FLGS, I am also not limiting myself to RPGs currently in distribution.

 

I may actually have enough time to get some 5th Edition rolling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 3/10/2020 at 10:17 AM, Chris Goodwin said:

Lately, as a player when I'm creating a new PC for a game, I'm usually working on it the night before the game, sometimes not submitting it to the GM until a couple of hours before the game.  It's not just GMing.  And that's even using HD, Champions Powers, and the Champions Character Creation Cards.  

 

On 3/10/2020 at 11:55 AM, zslane said:

 

I don't quite see the problem there. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable approach. At least you are making an effort to create the character prior to showing up at the table, and you give the GM ample time to look it over. The GM may have to scramble a little to fit the new character into the current narrative (if the group is in the middle of one), but that's just part of being a GM.

 

Yes and no.

If the PC is within the ballpark the absolutely.

If the PC is completely out in left field, no.

 

These days I am adamantly opposed to the concept the GM/DM is mandated to accept anything and somehow make it work.  The player is equally responsible to make an effort for their character to fit the game.

 

Now, I am not saying either of you are doing anything wrong.  I just object to the blithely accepted idea that players have carte blanche and the GMs just need to suck it up that seems to have overrun the hobby.

 

I think I've found my trigger :ugly:

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27 minutes ago, Spence said:

Yes and no.

If the PC is within the ballpark the absolutely.

If the PC is completely out in left field, no.

 

Speaking as the guy what made the character, I'm going to say this one was pretty far out into left field.  A cartoon character from a city called Inkdropolis in the Toon-i-verse.  Complete with cartoon character powers.  

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1 hour ago, Spence said:

These days I am adamantly opposed to the concept the GM/DM is mandated to accept anything and somehow make it work.

 

These days? I've never subscribed to that notion. I have always believed that it is the GM's job to police his campaign and make sure inappropriate or poorly designed PCs don't end up in play.

 

What I meant by scrambling to fit the character into the narrative was that the GM will have to come up with a believable way for the new character to meet up with the party, and will want to work with the player to explain why the new character would embark on the current quest in the first place. But that stuff isn't usually too difficult unless the player deliberately makes it difficult with the new character design, in which case the GM is fully within his rights to say, "Sorry, try again please."

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5 hours ago, Spence said:

 

Today the rarest and most mysterious creature in gamedom is the active GM/DM. That is ACTIVELY running.  (If you have run games in the past you are not a GM, you are a former GM.)

 

Of that tiny population the least seen species is the virtually extinct "world builder" and the equally endangered "home brew" GM.

 

Every gamer I talk to in the flesh claims to be one and yet EVERY SINGLE ONE spends what little game time they have running pre-built material or hastily tweaked pre-built material. Or rather every single one with one exception. I do know one very accomplished GM the runs original adventures. But they will not touch Hero as it simply take too much time to use. 

 

Ooo... I get to be rare AND mysterious. My wife will never be able to live with my ego now. ;)

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On 3/10/2020 at 12:56 PM, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Speaking as the guy what made the character, I'm going to say this one was pretty far out into left field.  A cartoon character from a city called Inkdropolis in the Toon-i-verse.  Complete with cartoon character powers.  

We may be using the phrase "out in left field" in different contexts.

 

I'm meaning a player agrees to a campaign with the PCs being the force of good but then arrives with a murderhobo assassin that drinks blood.

 

Making a silly super in a superhero game is flavor  and concept.  A GM can work with that.

 

But if the campaign was a gritty investigative crime game, then a toon PC would be out of the scope.

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On 3/10/2020 at 12:56 PM, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Speaking as the guy what made the character, I'm going to say this one was pretty far out into left field.  A cartoon character from a city called Inkdropolis in the Toon-i-verse.  Complete with cartoon character powers.  

 

Given the GM of that game, and the game he's running, I think your character fits in quite well.

 

For those of you in the audience, we have a Jewish clay golem character, the Easter Bunny (yes, really), a reskinned Daniel Jackson using a sentient katana, a traditional superheroine (my character), and a cartoon Ostrich who sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger (Chris G). It's a...weird game. It was pitched as 500 points with a 200-point limit on powers and otherwise anything goes. Given that, I think the character designs have been fairly reasonable.

 

My own Wild Cards-based Hudson City game is one where I do vet the characters, and I'm not shy about deciding a character won't work in it--or about making changing if a character turns out to be a problem once they're in. (I long ago instituted Rule Zero for any campaign I run: the characters must all be willing and able to work together. If your character's personality, hygiene, appearance, or some other aspect makes it unreasonably difficult for you to interact with the other PCs...do something else.)

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On 3/10/2020 at 1:42 PM, zslane said:

 

These days? I've never subscribed to that notion. I have always believed that it is the GM's job to police his campaign and make sure inappropriate or poorly designed PCs don't end up in play.

 

What I meant by scrambling to fit the character into the narrative was that the GM will have to come up with a believable way for the new character to meet up with the party, and will want to work with the player to explain why the new character would embark on the current quest in the first place. But that stuff isn't usually too difficult unless the player deliberately makes it difficult with the new character design, in which case the GM is fully within his rights to say, "Sorry, try again please."

OK, I  stand corrected.

I was running a lot of store games for a while and too many of the current crop seem to think that way.

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At the end of the day, no matter how many times I hear things like "doing /accepting / taking / buying _this_ tells the GM _that_,"  I bow up just a little bit. 

 

I'm not hard-hearted.  I've been told that I am generally "less restrictive" than "my last GM," etc.  (as an aside, I don't take it as either an insult or a compliment but instead as a demonstration of what decades of pracrice makes possible.  ;)  ) 

 

But at that first setting, we _all_ hand our sheets to the GM.   Why do we do that? 

 

GM approval.  We all know that.  We can "tell the GM that I want this adventure to revolve around X" or "let the GM know that I expect to be able to Y," but I don't really see that as the players running roughshod over The GM simply because these characters are submitted for approval.  The GM can say yes or no or edit as he sees appropriate for the adventure he has planned just as much as he can tweak and bend and change that adventure to accommodate reasonable idea or interesting notion. 

 

 

Unless someone is running a game where characters do _not_ require GM approval, in which case there are problems on both sides of the screen. 

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Spence, Brennall on the Hero Discord server is finalizing a phase one release of a Hero System skin for Tabletop Simulator. TTS costs about $20 on Steam, but the Herosystem module will be free, and handles 5th and 6th editions. It’s one way of running a game without having to deal with Roll20 and Roll20’s monthly rent for Hero GMs, while Corona-Chan from Wuhan is out and about. 

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18 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Spence, Brennall on the Hero Discord server is finalizing a phase one release of a Hero System skin for Tabletop Simulator. TTS costs about $20 on Steam, but the Herosystem module will be free, and handles 5th and 6th editions. It’s one way of running a game without having to deal with Roll20 and Roll20’s monthly rent for Hero GMs, while Corona-Chan from Wuhan is out and about. 

 

Thanks for the heads up.

I have been resisting the whole concept of remote/online gaming for as long as it was even hinted at as an option.  Heck I donlt even really like most video games.

But I may just have to bow to necessity in the near future :weep:

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14 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

At the end of the day, no matter how many times I hear things like "doing /accepting / taking / buying _this_ tells the GM _that_,"  I bow up just a little bit. 

SNIP

But at that first setting, we _all_ hand our sheets to the GM.   Why do we do that? 

 

GM approval.  We all know that.  We can "tell the GM that I want this adventure to revolve around X" or "let the GM know that I expect to be able to Y," but I don't really see that as the players running roughshod over The GM simply because these characters are submitted for approval.  The GM can say yes or no

SNIP

 

To me, the GM review of the sheet is an important part of the process.  If I am buying great interaction stats and skills, seven different languages and a few Linguistics skills, I am telling the GM that I want/expect this character to overcome challenges by being able to communicate broadly,  effectively and persuasively.

 

Maybe that is right in line with his plan for the game (he may even have said so, perhaps indicating this will be a globetrotting campaign where the PCs will interact with many different potential allies, as well as possible and definite allies).  Great - character is easy to approve.

 

Perhaps he is planning a game set in a single small town, where everyone speaks the local language.  Either he decides to adjust the campaign, or he says "hey, keep the language skills, but they will not be more than backdrop in the game (like the Beast changing languages every page for an issue of Avengers to show off, but never actually needing to speak to someone in those languages) so you can zero out the point cost - but here's a couple of possible spends that would be useful and look consistent with your character design".

 

Maybe he also plans to resolve all interaction based on "player role playing" (i.e. arbitrarily depending on GM assessment of  player eloquence rather than character skill), so don't bother dropping all those points in interaction skills.

 

Perhaps I misread the game, and it will focus largely around combat, not interaction, so the GM suggests reducing these investments to shore  up combat stats, if he's not willing to add a bunch of interaction-based challenges.

 

Ensuring the characters will fit the game and the game will fit the characters is not a problem, it's good game management.

 

Where the problem arises is when he does not review the character for suitability for the game, and we end up with a Face PC in a game focused exclusively on hunting and killing alien xenomorphs, travelling in a spacecraft and never meeting a non-PC that's anything but a bug-eyed monster that wants to kill us all.  The player spent a big chunk of points on abilities that are irrelevant to the game, he can't compete with PCs actually built for he game and he never gets to use the points he spent. 

 

THAT is a problem. 

 

The solution may be a GM modifying the game plan to incorporate the character better, it may be the player making a character more appropriate to the game ("no combat-incapable sages" is not a lot different from "no asshole loners" - both reject characters who will detract from the game rather than enhance it), or it may be a combination of the two.

 

In extreme cases, the answer may be that one player does not want to play the game in question, and should bow out.  I don't know that I've ever hit that extreme as a player, but I have shelved a concept that was not right for THIS game to dust it off later for a more appropriate game.  Or it may be that the game the GM wants to run is not one that the players want to play, so he may need to run a different game, or they may need to find a different GM.

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13 hours ago, Spence said:

 

Thanks for the heads up.

I have been resisting the whole concept of remote/online gaming for as long as it was even hinted at as an option.  Heck I donlt even really like most video games.

But I may just have to bow to necessity in the near future :weep:

 

Well I don't know.  You could always go to the surplus store and get an Mk. 19 Gas mask, an NBC suit, and a Sealed environment canteen for the face to face, game, then.  ...at least for the next month or two?

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 On 3/11/2020 at 9:39 PM, sinanju said:

... (I long ago instituted Rule Zero for any campaign I run: the characters must all be willing and able to work together. If your character's personality, hygiene, appearance, or some other aspect makes it unreasonably difficult for you to interact with the other PCs...do something else.)

 

😲  Um.. say what?   But.. but... 🥺 ...what happened with my game, then?

 

 

On 3/11/2020 at 9:37 PM, Spence said:

I'm meaning a player agrees to a campaign with the PCs being the force of good but then arrives with a murderhobo assassin that drinks blood.

 

This is basically the PCs in my campaign (on temporary hiatus as I sort things out).  Both Goodwin and sinanju are in it.  None of the characters play nice with each other.  For instance, Chris has a goody two-shoes character that wants to join a super team, sinanju plays a former assassin with a negative reputation who would like to be good but has a lot of underworld skills.  The group basically acts (and presents to the world) like a vigilante group (A-Team), but verbally, the players want to have a straight-laced super team (like the Justice League).  As for me (as GM) in this...

 

 

On 3/10/2020 at 1:42 PM, zslane said:

 

These days? I've never subscribed to that notion. I have always believed that it is the GM's job to police his campaign and make sure inappropriate or poorly designed PCs don't end up in play.

 

This goes back to the original impetus for this thread.  As an inexperienced/relatively new GM of Champions (or anything), I find it incredibly difficult to properly police the characters before (and during) play.  The players (Goodwin, sinanju, and others at the table) have read and understand 6E1 and 6E2, have played 5th edition (and likely 4th or earlier), and are Masters with the rules. 

 

I have Champions Complete.  I've read it a couple of times.  I still can't remember the rules for knockback (they just won't stick in my head).  The rules for character creation in 6E are incredibly complicated, and honestly, I can't tell what a power is going to do just by reading it.  I need to see it in action. 

 

At the table, I try to be open to whatever the players bring, and I try to craft a story that includes their complications and background.  Usually, this is over a couple of side adventures to the main plot to focus on each character.  For this game, I proposed the characters know each other beforehand or at least had some sort of "six degrees of separation" that could make them connect once they met.  The group decided for lone wolves that would somehow come together and work together. 🙄

 

Also as a terrible tactician, I'm always using 1/10th the strength in the villains repertoire, because I just can't understand how the powers work and what would augment another villain's action (even with the Villain books).  I'm constantly frustrated by my inability to provide (what I consider) an acceptable challenge, thus decreasing the fun the other players have.

 

Bottom line, the current mechanics are too cumbersome and the material too dense (and has not really been supported for a long time) for an inexperienced GM to run a Champions/Hero system game.  I don't own 6E1 & 6E2, and I have no time nor desire to absorb that much information. But it's the bible of this game, so my lack of willingness is a concern.  We need Champions 7E to be more like 4E in size and scope.

 

Just wanted to add, thanks for the great discussion.

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1 hour ago, greysword said:

 

At the table, I try to be open to whatever the players bring, and I try to craft a story that includes their complications and background.  Usually, this is over a couple of side adventures to the main plot to focus on each character.  For this game, I proposed the characters know each other beforehand or at least had some sort of "six degrees of separation" that could make them connect once they met.  The group decided for lone wolves that would somehow come together and work together. 🙄

 

Might I suggest a "session zero" where we can work out our backstory, connections, and so forth, before we put pen to paper (or fingers to Hero Designer)?  I think that in our group we all, or at least I, have a tendency to work things out with the GM informally through email, but not letting everyone else be part of it.  With a session zero we can further get buy in from the GM on how the character will fit in with the game world and the other characters. 

 

And here's something I got from @Duke Bushido: the GM can take notes during that session zero on what the players bounce off of each other, things that really seem to grab them, the things that make them go "Ooo!  What about if...."  I think it's harder to get that kind of thing when it's a bunch of players making their characters by themselves, even if they're emailing with the GM.

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I challenge each player to find reasons why he wants to work with two other characters in the group.  If the characters cannot work together and the players cannot find the bonds that tie the group then I, as GM, will be unable to devote enough energy to do that.

 

i like creative tension, I like sparks between the group but there has to be an underlying desire within the team to be a team.

 

also, as a GM, you should be able to find players that want to be in your game, GMs are difficult to come by.

 

Doc

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25 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Might I suggest a "session zero" where we can work out our backstory, connections, and so forth, before we put pen to paper (or fingers to Hero Designer)?  I think that in our group we all, or at least I, have a tendency to work things out with the GM informally through email, but not letting everyone else be part of it.  With a session zero we can further get buy in from the GM on how the character will fit in with the game world and the other characters.

 

 

I suggested that beforehand, and we sort of had that, especially when the group decided to move the team to Florida.  The players just seem to like to *surprise* each other with their character's traits (hence the lone wolf marker).  One player especially likes to even surprise me (the GM) while we play.

 

I like session Zero's, but even then, the characters seem to deviate from the agreed format.  I suggested we switch to (the aforementioned) vigilante (or antihero) team format instead of a straight laced team, but that isn't what everyone wanted.  It's okay, just fits in with the conversation we're having.  I can't really compete with the depth of possibilities and min/maxing available with 6E.

 

 

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I avoided trying to GM Champions in the first several years that I played because doing it--and more importantly, doing it well--is incredibly challenging and requires a mastery of the rules that I simply didn't have. It also requires one to juggle lots of balls all at once; it is hard enough to play a single superhero effectively (in combat) as a player. It is incredibly difficult to do so with an entire team of supervillains all by oneself as GM. And my philosophy is that if I can't GM well, then I'm not going to GM at all.

 

I might suggest you let someone else be GM for a while, and reserve GMing duties for when you've got a lot more experience with the system under your belt.

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22 minutes ago, greysword said:

I can't really compete with the depth of possibilities and min/maxing available with 6E.


you know, I have been GMing Champions for over 30 years.  In that time I have found the trick to be allowing the characters to shine, each one getting a chance to show their powers in play.  I have NEVER had a group tell me it was too easy.  A cool story and the chance to show off leaves folk feeling like a hero.  
 

You don’t need to compete, just give those experienced players a decent canvas and sit back and watch.  
 

my only other tip would be to leave your brain open to possibilities and opportunities.  When things crash and burn because you went in too hard, look for reasons why players schemes/plans/ruses will work rather than why they might fail.

 

Beyond that, sit back and gain experience in both the system and GMing it.

 

doc

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1 hour ago, greysword said:

 

I suggested that beforehand, and we sort of had that, especially when the group decided to move the team to Florida.

 

*ahem*  I thought we should have gone to Seattle. 

 

1 hour ago, greysword said:

The players just seem to like to *surprise* each other with their character's traits (hence the lone wolf marker).  One player especially likes to even surprise me (the GM) while we play.

 

I like session Zero's, but even then, the characters seem to deviate from the agreed format.  I suggested we switch to (the aforementioned) vigilante (or antihero) team format instead of a straight laced team, but that isn't what everyone wanted.  It's okay, just fits in with the conversation we're having. 

 

I think that was partly because we had our characters already made.  

 

1 hour ago, greysword said:

 

I can't really compete with the depth of possibilities and min/maxing available with 6E.

 

Let us help!  Heck, one of us can play the villains, their tactics and such, while you handle the overall flow.  Co-GMs! 

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28 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

*ahem*  I thought we should have gone to Seattle. 

 

 

I think that was partly because we had our characters already made.  

 

 

Let us help!  Heck, one of us can play the villains, their tactics and such, while you handle the overall flow.  Co-GMs! 

 

We'll figure it out.  For the rest of the board, I've stepped back for a little while to recharge, and plan to start again this summer (post pandemic, it seems).

 

Oh, as an ironic point, I set up a side adventure for the homeless hero character (yeah, he's a hobo with powers) that involved a disease that is sweeping through the homeless camps in the city.  😮

 

 

2 hours ago, zslane said:

I avoided trying to GM Champions in the first several years that I played because doing it--and more importantly, doing it well--is incredibly challenging and requires a mastery of the rules that I simply didn't have. It also requires one to juggle lots of balls all at once; it is hard enough to play a single superhero effectively (in combat) as a player. It is incredibly difficult to do so with an entire team of supervillains all by oneself as GM. And my philosophy is that if I can't GM well, then I'm not going to GM at all.

 

I might suggest you let someone else be GM for a while, and reserve GMing duties for when you've got a lot more experience with the system under your belt.

 

1 hour ago, Doc Democracy said:


you know, I have been GMing Champions for over 30 years.  In that time I have found the trick to be allowing the characters to shine, each one getting a chance to show their powers in play.  I have NEVER had a group tell me it was too easy.  A cool story and the chance to show off leaves folk feeling like a hero.  
 

You don’t need to compete, just give those experienced players a decent canvas and sit back and watch.  
 

my only other tip would be to leave your brain open to possibilities and opportunities.  When things crash and burn because you went in too hard, look for reasons why players schemes/plans/ruses will work rather than why they might fail.

 

Beyond that, sit back and gain experience in both the system and GMing it.

 

doc

 

These are excellent points, and I think the ideas you both presented go to the original point of the thread.  How can we make a Champions (Hero system) version that is inviting to new players/GMs?  Especially the GMs.  If a new person picks up the core rulebook, it needs to be fairly "Complete" without being 700 (or so) pages.  Otherwise, it's not inviting to try.  Unfortunately, we don't have the games available for someone new to play for a while before GMing.

 

What is a Complete game?

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16 minutes ago, greysword said:

How can we make a Champions (Hero system) version that is inviting to new players/GMs?  Especially the GMs.

 

I kinda feel this asks a different question than the one posed by the situation I was responding to. Making a game inviting to new players is mostly a content/presentation issue, IMO. And while presentation can go a long way towards making a complex system more easily digestible (or not, as has been the case with the last two editions of the HERO System in my view), nothing short of altering the game significantly is going to make Champions easier to play or GM. Especially to GM. There are simply too many options in the game.

 

As a GM, it isn't enough to know how the powers, maneuvers, and actions work, you have to know how they work in combination with each other, how they work in various situations, and how they might affect Complications. For example, it is really easy to forget that one of your villains has a Susceptibility to Presence Attacks and consequently doesn't cower in awe, as he should, at the superhero who lays down a decent, but not overly impressive, Presence Attack. The scene/combat could go in entirely the opposite direction because of this oversight.

 

While you could make the argument that GMing is tough no matter what game you're talking about, in my experience Champions stands above most because of the far greater power-interaction space it presents compared to most other RPGs.

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3 hours ago, greysword said:

These are excellent points, and I think the ideas you both presented go to the original point of the thread.  How can we make a Champions (Hero system) version that is inviting to new players/GMs?  Especially the GMs.  If a new person picks up the core rulebook, it needs to be fairly "Complete" without being 700 (or so) pages.  Otherwise, it's not inviting to try.  Unfortunately, we don't have the games available for someone new to play for a while before GMing.

 

What is a Complete game?

Well, I honestly don't think you can slim the book down much more than Champions Complete. It's about as thin as you can get, and still include all the advice and such that the book covers. This is one reason why I suggest in my original post that it would make more sense to try a new experiment with something that is heroic, so it doesn't require all the powers and modifiers, something that is located locally to our everyday experiences (the "real" world), and has mostly pre-built equipment. This pretty much rules out supers and fantasy, which depend entirely upon the Powers (unless you do a magic-less fantasy game, and who really wants to do that anyway?).

 

As for what makes a game complete, well, we've got 15 pages of stuff about this so far. I decided to drift away from that name because there are already two Complete books which are actually pretty incomplete. I'm leaning towards "one book game" to emphasize that there should only be one book which includes only the information needed to play as quickly as possible. Not basic, or simplified, but also not including all the discussions about how to build this or that, and what not. Builds should be included, but without all the verbiage displayed in anything other than an appendix (or maybe a web document, as @Doc Democracy has suggested). This is pretty much why I focused on Action HERO! as a possible test game.

 

Champions is virtually impossible to use in this model, unless there were to be a separate Champions game for each setting offered. A generic book such as Champions Complete gives the reader all the tools to build a setting and everything in it, but a one book game should offer all those thing already built so as to help someone such as yourself. The idea is that if the basic setting and equipment of the world is already built, and the power levels already set, the GM can get an idea on how everything should interact in the given world and go ahead with planning games without having to figure everything out from scratch. A few adventures should also be included so that the GM has even less planning to do for the first few game sessions. Really, books like Vibora Bay or San Angelo should be independent games built by HERO System, with all these things explained like a setting book, but also with the rules and everything else included as they fit into the game.

 

This last part seems to be what some people aren't understanding about my hypothesis. I think it's valuable to present the rules in the game rather than depend on a core book to the side of the setting book. If it's all under one cover, then the rules should be presented as part of the game. But those rules don't have to be the same generic rules that are always presented in every edition of the game since 4e. The rules should be boiled down for the setting, and some of them should just be excluded. In other words, the game creator should interpret the rules for a new GM and players so they don't have to figure out all the parts. Imagine trying to put together a bedroom suite from IKEA, but before you can do that you have to learn a new language to be able to understand the instructions before you can even understand what all the parts are. If all the interpretations are already made, and the translations are already done, then the players and GM can just jump in and start playing. 

 

There should also be plenty of references to the larger shelf of 6e books, and the core rules themselves, so players and GMs can dabble in customizing the game themselves, or perhaps even build their own version of the game. But this stuff should be in sidebars or an appendix, and not "on full display" as seems to be the HERO model these days. If I want to learn HTML, I shouldn't have to dit down and memorize all the tags and then start building from scratch. Most classes start with small projects by making an interpretation of which code is essential, and then build on them. A game should be the same approach: give the essentials, and then point towards the complete code (the 6e1/6e2 books, etc.) for further possibilities.

 

Just another $.02 from me. 

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4 hours ago, zslane said:

nothing short of altering the game significantly is going to make Champions easier to play or GM. Especially to GM. There are simply too many options in the game.

 

 

 

Z makes an _excellent_ point here, Greysword, as does Brian, right here:

 

1 hour ago, Brian Stanfield said:

Well, I honestly don't think you can slim the book down much more than Champions Complete. It's about as thin as you can get, and still include all the advice and such that the book covers.

 

 

But I feel that they both stop just a tiny bit short of what you really need to hear.  I am not saying that they are wrong, because they aren't.   I think they might be just a bit blinded by the tendency of the last couple of editions to include words like "must."

 

There is _no_ "must."  There is _nothing_ you _must_ do, period.

 

You're the GM!

 

No-- don't anyone start thinking that you know what I'm thinking. ;)   This isn't a God Complex thing; I'm actually going somewhere (and apparently it's not "to bed."   :lol:  )

 

You are the GM, which means that you are tasked with, as Z said, developing a mastery of the rules.   You are _also_ tasked with creating and bringing life to whole stinkin' _world_!  I mean, my wife was in absolute agony to push out a seven-pound baby, and you've got to drop an entire planet and seven billion adults to live on it?!   Of _course_ it's rough!

 

  :rofl:

 

 

But back to the point:

 

Dude, HERO GMs are _rare_.  Seriously.  HERO _players_ aren't that common anymore, unless you're willing to make them yourself, but the GMs are _way_ more rare.

 

Players _want_ to play.  Hell, GMs want to play.  And if I read your posts right, at least two of your players are already HERO-knowledgeable, meaning that not only do they know the system, but they know how rare the GMs are.

 

Use that. ;)

 

 

Seriously:  you said yourself that there is a _lot_ to learn, and gave KnockBack as an example.  So you know you have a lot to learn.  So do your system-skilled players.

 

 

Now I'm an old man-- I just turned 60 Friday past.  I know things aren't the same now as when I was a kid, but when _I_ went to school, they taught Calculus.

 

 

But they didn't teach it in _first grade_.

 

They taught single-digit addition in first grade.  By the end of first grade, you could add a short list of three-digit numbers.  You could even subtract one three-digit number from another.   It was pretty cool, really.  I mean, I felt damned _amazing_ by the end of first grade!

 

But there was no Calculus.

 

 

Let's take another look at what Z and Brian had to say:

 

"There are simply too many options in the game."

 

"It's about as thin as you can get, and still include all the advice and such that the book covers."

 

Both of these are completely right, but they don't include everything you need to know to really learn this system:

 

You can change that.

 

Seriously.  You can solve the "too many options in the game" thing.  You can solve the "it's as thin as you can get" thing.

 

Lose 'em.  Ditch 'em.  Throw them out.   You want to make that book even thinner?  Rip out some of that advice that the book covers.  Too many options?  Hell, there's a universal _cure_ for "too many" of _anything_, and I don't even have to tell you what it is!

 

 

Get with your group.  Tell them your dilemma.  Think of it this way:  You just posted about some unhappiness in that you don't think the group communicated enough with you or each other to make the sort of characters you were hoping to see.   It goes two ways, my friend:  You have to communicate with them about the sort of game _not just that you want_, but the sort of game with which you're _capable_ at this point.

 

Having trouble remembering knock back rules?  Lose 'em!  Just flat get rid of them!  Tell the guys honestly, though:  "Look, I have got a _lot_ I need to get under my belt, but the best way to learn Spanish is to move to Spain, so I'd like to go ahead and run a game, but I have _got_ to set some tight edges on what we are and aren't going to use from the rules, at lest until I get the basics rock solid."

 

Tell them "I have a lot of trouble keeping Knock Back straight; I'd kinda like to just not do it this time around.   Multipowers are killing me.  Can we just go ahead and agree that we are going to use the powers in the slots at either 1/2 or Full strength, at least until I get better at mathing it out on the fly?  And maybe we can drop Linked.   Also, I've got some problems remembering everyone's Complications and keeping it all straight, and I'm just not ready to deal with Succeptible _at all_.  Tell you what:  let's put another 25 points on your base and drop 25 points of complications, okay?  Your points totals don't change, but it takes a lot off of me to keep up with."

 

Or even "I'm not ready to keep up with so much mechanics.  Can we do a 300 pt game instead?"

 

 

Seriously.  You can actually _do_ that!   And I'm going to level with you: the _majority_ of players-- HERO players in particular-- are pretty cool with it!  They _want_ to play, and you're willing to run.  You're being honest with them, and presenting individual examples of your problem areas.  Even if they aren't happy, they are going to respect that.  Be _honest_:  "Okay, let's build powers with no more than two modifiers each; I don't even understand what the hell half of the things on your sheet _are_, let alone how to deal with them."

 

 

Two of two things is going to happen:  You are going to get a lot of understanding people who are willing to make at least a _few_ concessions to your problems.  There's no price for that, either-- that's just _gold_.

 

Another thing that's going to happen is you are going to get a lot of suggestions-- _GOOD_ ones, I mean; not just "well you need to read this and study that and memorize this"-- you are going to get _solid_ suggestions if you've got rules-knowledgeable players.

 

I bet if you told them up front "Guys, I keep forgetting about knock back / never remember how to figure knock back--"  I'd be willing to _bet_ that someone is going to say "how about we tell you what it is, until you get the hang of it?  We'll roll our damage and calculate our knock back, and give you the result."

 

I don't know if it will help you, but it's still a solid idea.  Hell, someone might decide to keep track of it for the bad guys, too!  "Okay, Player Two, you take eight points of BODY"  Then Player Two says "and one inch knock back" and you keep on rocking:  "Player One, you take eleven points of BODY."  and Player Two chimes in with "and no Knock Back."

 

I won't say that will happen, but I _can_ say I have seen it happen, and at more than one table.

 

You said it yourself:  There is a metric assload of system to learn.   Why the Hell would you force yourself to learn it all at once?   ;)   If you're not having fun, keep whittling away until you've got something you can enjoy.  As you get confident with that, add another thing or two when you're ready.  Nobody really likes to admit it, but that's how _most_ of us learned to play:  start with first edition at a whopping fifty-something pages, play it a couple of years, then they add a few pages to the next edition.  Hell, I wouldn't want to force myself to memorize ten text books, either!   :lol:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, greysword said:

 

 

I suggested that beforehand, and we sort of had that, especially when the group decided to move the team to Florida.  The players just seem to like to *surprise* each other with their character's traits (hence the lone wolf marker).  One player especially likes to even surprise me (the GM) while we play.

 

I like session Zero's, but even then, the characters seem to deviate from the agreed format.  I suggested we switch to (the aforementioned) vigilante (or antihero) team format instead of a straight laced team, but that isn't what everyone wanted.  It's okay, just fits in with the conversation we're having.  I can't really compete with the depth of possibilities and min/maxing available with 6E.

 

 

 

Yeah, I'd be happy to do a Session Zero character building session before a new campaign, but many players in our group--John, in particular--really likes keeping his character concept/powers/build a secret until the game starts.

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