Jump to content

Leaderboard


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/19/2019 in all areas

  1. 14 points
    Lord Liaden

    Today is special because ?

    As a Canadian, I honor this day because of the ideals it expressed and strove to make manifest, that transformed the world. That all men are created equal. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It's no secret the United States of America has often fallen short of those ideals, as have we all. But in just aspiring as a country to make them real, America has been an inspiration to people everywhere, and helped ignite a fundamental shift in how people see their responsibility to their fellow human beings. Whatever pettiness we may be dealing with today, that's a legacy worth celebrating.
  2. 10 points
  3. 9 points
    The July 6, 2019 issue of The Economist had a feature article on "The Global Crisi in Conservatism." By which they mean the conservatism of gradualism tradition and social cohesion, not the deranged nationalism that seems to be pushing it aside. Might interest people as a reminder of what "conservative" once meant. Still, it also reminds me that while I appreciate cautious and gradual change, recognizing that people are not infinitely flexible; and I appreciate the need for multiple institutional channels instead of focusing exclusively on the State as a medium for getting things done; I cannot ever consider myself "a conservative." Too often even the mildest and most superficially reasonable, Edmund Burke-style conservatism seems to act as an apology or figleaf for established wealth, power, and irrational prejudice. The same arguments used for "Why we must not disrupt the Traditional Family" or "Why we must accept wealth disparities" have so much the same form as "Why we must preserve slavery" or "Why we must burn heretics." It's like a Mad-Lib where you just plug in different words for whatever institution you don't want to change. Dean Shomshak
  4. 9 points
    This will be long and off current discussion topics, for which I apologize. As we all know, Donald Trump lies, constantly. Some lies are big, such as his tariffs extracting billions of dollars from China. Some are small, such as denying he said something a few days before, when it’s on film that he said it. Now we’re seeing the consequences with the oil tanker attacks. First, here's a bit of history about why honesty matters. Many years ago when I was in college, I attended a talk sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa that has stuck with me. A University of Washington emeritus professor spoke about his time as an advisor for Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War Two. There was debate in the administration about whether to suppress news about lost battles in the Pacific and about domestic troubles such as labor actions. This professor said no: “The government of the United States of America must never be seen to lie.” His reasoning was simple. Any lie will be exposed, and any suppressed information will get out – and probably sooner rather than later. Any attempt would fail, and reduce American credibility at home and abroad. So why does credibility matter in war? “Today, the truth seems bad for us and good for out enemies. Tomorrow, the truth will be good for us and bad for our enemies.” The Axis powers lied to their people – a lot. It was important, the professor said, that the people of the Axis countries trusted American promises. An in the case of Japan, it was vitally important that the leaders trusted American promises. See, the Roosevelt administration knew Japan couldn’t win. The only questions were how long it would take and how high the cost would be for the US to win. And this was the project of which the professor was a part: “the most precisely focused propaganda campaign in history,” aimed at Emperor Hirohito and the half-dozen or so people with real power in the Japanese government. They had to be convinced that surrender to the US was not suicide. In particular, that the Emperor would be spared. And it worked. Yes, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were important in crushing the will to resist. But the professor believes it helped that for years, very quiet diplomacy had been going on, telling the Japanese high command that unconditional surrender wasn’t really unconditional: The US would be generous in victory, and the Emperor would still live and rule. The Roosevelt administration told the truth about defeats and domestic troubles. And it worked. The back-channel promises were believed, and Hirohito ordered Japan to surrender. The promises were kept, too. Now look at the present. The Trump administration says irrefutable evidence that Iran attacked the oil tankers, though it won’t share anything except a grainy video that proves nothing. And I don’t believe it. Here’s another historical incident. Between the First and Second Gulf Wars, Iraq’s prime minister Tariq Aziz appeared frequently on the BBC to respond to American accusations. He lied, a lot. When BBC presenters called him on his lies, he denied he’d ever said such a thing, even though it was on tape and millions of people had heard him. So when the Bush Jr. administration claimed Iraq still had WMDs, and Aziz insisted that no, Iraq didn’t, I thought Aziz was lying. Turns out, for once he told the truth. I found that the most surprising event of the whole invasion. Okay, it could be Iran attacked the tankers. That’s plausible. The BBC, the Economist and other news sources say the Iranian government is getting desperate, and there are hothead factions that want open confrontation with the US. But I won’t take this administration’s word for it. Trump lies so much, and his officials repeat the lies so much, that I don’t trust anything they claim. I find it equally plausible that someone else attacked the tankers. Either the Trumpies are duped, or they are supporting the fraud. Other countries don’t seem that ready to take the administration’s word for Iran’s guilt, either. That is a loss of American influence, as a direct result of Trump’s lies. So who else might it be? I think Saudi Arabia tops the list of suspects. Experts who claim to know such things say the Saudi government is locked in a struggle against Iran for influence across the Middle East, of which the war in Yemen is merely one front. Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also shown a fondness for dirty tricks (and considerable hot-headedness) in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. So maybe MBS thinks that he can sucker the US into war with Iran and destroying Saudi’s hated rival for him. Could the Trump administration itself be behind the attacks? No. This administration is so leaky it can’t keep anything secret. But the administration has allies: far-right business tycoons who see Trump as the key to lock in their own political influence. Some may be simple plutocrats; others, Evangelical extremists; and others, racists and anti-immigrant bigots. I suppose they could hire mercenaries. (Maybe from Xe, formerly Blackwater, created by one such far-right wacko, Erik Prince.) I would like to believe I’m just being paranoid. After all, treating suspected motivation as evidence is a hallmark of conspiracy theory nuttiness. But enough crazy things – or at least wildly irresponsible things – have happened lately that I can no longer brush aside such suspicions with a jaunty, “Nah, it could never happen.” Dean Shomshak
  5. 8 points
  6. 8 points
  7. 8 points
    RE: Endurance tracking: My current youth group is the only time I've _ever_ had issues getting someone to comprehend tracking END, and even then it's just the younger ones. I mean, players have no problem tracking STUN, BODY, and until this one group, track END. It's not like it's totally foreign if you can track the other two, right? My suspicion is the "youth" part: they're in a hurry to do amazing things in their magical new world. My solution was this: Combined with this: Yes, as an American deep in rural farm country, I was startled to find a dozen 45 cm plastic rulers in my local office supply store (I mean local; the nearest chain place is ninety miles from me). The ones I found were wider and thinner than the one pictured, and they had a narrow little slot running down almost the full length (presumably some sort of cutting guide?) At any rate, I tucked A paper rivet through each slot and folded one tab one toward the center and the other tab toward and up around the edge of the centimeter side, making something of a pointer. I explained to them that they put the pointer on their starting END (mercifully, the highest END was dead-on 45) and when they did anything, they slid the pointer down to indicate their current END score. Not only did it work, but they want one for tracking STUN, too. I don't think the math bothered them; I don't think that they were unaware that things cost END. I think they got wrapped up and forgot to stop and do it. This, being a bit more in-your-face, seems to have stopped the problem cold. They have taken to moving the counter as if it were the most important part of the game. Unexpected bonus: I can tell at a casual glance about where anyone's END is at any given moment.
  8. 8 points
  9. 8 points
    Killer Shrike

    Look at me, the proud father

    My son, @Scything, has started playing the Hero System. Yesterday he asked me for a Hero Designer license so that he can make characters on his own. Hero Designer: the multi-generational Hero System character creation software
  10. 7 points
    Duke Bushido

    Perceptions of the game change

    If (and it might not be; I may have missed the actual thrust here) the point is to simplify or reduce the size of the rules book(s), this apparently can't happen. While I personally (this often-overlooked term is a word that indicates I'm offering an opinion and not just trying to stir up hate and discontent that leads to a thread-derailing argument of hurt feelings and wounded pride) think that a considerable amount of the rules bloat came from a shift in attitude of the rules themselves. Someone else on these boards stated it more concisely than I could have: the rules have gone from "permissive" to "restrictive." That is, once upon a time, powers and skills and such included whatever you expected them to include-- put another way, whatever you and your group / GM expected them to. Then came the creep-in of "NO!" Bits and pieces were slowly pulled out and teased apart and suddenly became advantages and adders and modifiers, all of which had to be explained, costed, and demonstrated. One small example is "Change Orientation" for Teleport. Used to be assumed, now it costs money. A recently-discussed second option is "Rapid" for perception. What was once just a schtick now costs points, and from that same recent discussion, it seems like it can cost a hell of a lot of them for what, if actually role-played to meet the description, would absolutely wreck everyone else's good time in addition to being totally impossible to do. (we don't make people with flight by life support vs cold to fly higher than a kilometer or so, but we _do_ make speedsters pay for the ability to see where they're going?! Crap; I shouldn't have said that. Edition 7 will now include "able to survive the use of your power" as a separate element for half the powers now....) Once upon a time, you assumed things like "can see where he's going" and "can fly at least 3km up because there's air for him to breathe there" were already included (and you didn't bother with math about the energy expenditures for parabolic travel versus plowing flat over the ground at a height of ten meters, nor the loss of distance traveled in the same time between the two techniques. That'll have to wait for either 7e or APG 9 or wherever it is we decide additional complexity should go.) Agreed, but given the creep toward restrictive build rules -- i.e., "No; not unless you also buy this and this and this and this, (which made the 5e out-of-nowhere inclusion of "Growth Momentum" really glaring. All other editions recognized that there was no inherent momentum in "I get bigger," and characters wanting it built it as a separate attack (or extra damage) with "Growth Momentum" as a separate attack. I didn't mind the inclusion of it, but it seemed to weird next to new rules that were pulling stuff _out_ of "this power comes with" and turning it into "costs extra.") it won't work. If you are going to design a rules set that requires those options to build what the player envisions, then you are going to have to actually present those options. Now it might seem that I'm being really hard on the new overall attitude of the rules, but I'm _not_. I'm pointing out one of the main reasons that the rules _are_ so big and _why_ there are so many options presented. Here's the edge you have to walk to write a set of rules for this game: Keep it short and brief. Okay, one paragraph each for powers. Let's be kind and say "no more than three paragraphs each for powers." If you want to limit the size of those paragraphs to less than a page each, you'll have to include "not written by a lawyer" or possibly even specify "must be written by a mathematician (Why is that word so hard to type?!!!)." I can't _fully_ endorse either of those things, though: lawyers are trained for keen and specific use of verbiage, and tend to be careful about selecting their words and ensuring that contradictions either don't exist or are well-explained (which leads to the verbosity, of course, but now we know why that's not always bad) and I don't know of anything I've read written by a mathematician (I am so done typing that word! We're going back to AMG: amazing math guy), but if playing with numbers is your real joy, well there are likely to be great and lengthy sessions of tear-out and build-in of the various elements to seek the mythical "perfect balance" between Swimming and Ranged Killing Attack. I can't see that _not_ ending up with more and lengthier "power does include this, but if you want any of the following sixty-two elements, you must by the appropriate advantages, so let's explain them, too." Now I started out saying that this shift in the attitude of permissive / restrictive rules is _part_ of the bloat. The rest of it is us. You heard me: It's us. The players. We _had_ the very thing we're sitting here crying about not having. First edition was 56 pages start to finish (+10 if you add the covers and eight character sheets). 2e was eighty pages (which included a selection of villains to get off to a quick start). 3e was 96 pages (boxed set) and had _no_ character sheet (it was printed on the rear cover of the separate 40=page Campaign Book in the boxed set). Third edition gained ever more rules spread through supplements, adventures, etc, all of which were specific to situations presented in those supplements and adventures and eventually even entirely new games build using Champions rules with custom tweaks for the game being presented. 4e, as we all know, was little more than gathering _all_ that material in one place. All of it from all the supplements and previous editions and hammering it all into one cohesive rules set that would cover _everything_. You would never need another rules set again, because it was all here. The the genre books came out and totally wrecked that idea: Here, have new characteristics! Have new Talents and Skills! Have new modifiers for other powers! Have some Kung Phooey! 5e was lather, rinse, repeat, meaning that it had the ground work of 6e already laid in..... So why this constant growth? Us. We weren't happy with what we had. We had questions. We had problems. We didn't want to answer all of them ourselves. We have this super-anal fetish to make sure we're doing our thing exactly the same way someone else is doing their thing (or vice-versa). We might be having the time of our lives, but we're not happy until we know it's a book-legal time of our lives. (Yes; I know every time someone mentions this inherent need to be book legal, we pay great homage to the idea that "the game is yours! Change it how you want!" Then we run off to some other thread to make sure it's all nice and book legal. ) There were _so many_ great points you raised, and I wanted to address so many more, but I have _got_ to get going, so if I may simply offer a poor wrap-up of what I've started (I _am_ sorry to lurch off like this, but the pop-up says Hugh has replied, and it made me glance at the time, and I really have to be somewhere in just a few minutes): We wanted more rules. Some people figured out their own vehicle rules, for example. Others didn't. Others _wouldn't_, and demanded to know how to do that "officially." We ran into situations we weren't sure how to handle. We wanted rules for that. We developed the habit of building the entire world in HERO stats (what was the DEF of Granny's screen porch again? Doesn't it take x4 BOD from fire-based attacks?) We _wanted_ rules. We asked for them. We begged for them, and lamented the lack of new ones all through the long years of 4e when everything HERO-related stopped, and we turned to the internet and our fellow fans for new ideas. We wanted to hard limits to help the different kinds of players work well at the same tables. We wanted to be able to mathematically simulate (and to price in character points) every single aspect of the world we were building, and wanted it all to be precisely relevant tot he world in which we live. Hell, I'm not claiming I'm exempt! I _love_ building stuff in HERO terms! We just wanted lots and lots of rules. Well now we've got them. Yet look at the number of "how do I...?" threads. There are still issues that are not clear. There are still problems. Yes; I personally think the restrictiveness creeping into the massive rules tomes is part of that problem, but I also don't see a solution in simply doing away with it and stating "Okay, just decide that a power features all its elements automatically, and take Limitations on any of them you don't want in your build." Honestly, either way still gives advantage to the clever or the highly-motivated. Obviously simpler rules ins't the answer: I don't think the PDFs of 1, 2, or 3e in the HERO store are selling like hotcakes. I'm pretty sure even Sidekick isn't doing anything appreciable, nor even HERO Basic (Sidekick 6e, dammit! ) Look also at the fact that in the subsequent books, bloat wasn't just in the build rules. It wasn't just in the breaking things rules. It wasn't just in combat or movement. There was more and more bloat in the "tell me about the world I'm going to be playing in" sections, too. People have _always_ wanted playable-out-of-the-box worlds. People have _always_ wanted pre-build adventures. Given the amount of time it takes to create from whole-cloth in the new rules (much, much more to select from when you're building _anything_, after all), people need them more than ever. But not everyone. Not at this point. Most of us have game worlds and game groups with long-established histories at this point. Let's face it: new players aren't happening as fast as the old ones are dying off. There's not a big enough market to support it anymore. So let's try this: Fan-built adventures. Post 'em here. Co-operate and build one together. Get with Jason and see if you can toss them into the store: a buck a piece, even. I won't lie: I've got three groups I have to run, and a job that eats up over 70 hours a week. I'd buy even a passable adventure in a heartbeat. As much as it shames me to say it, I've been recycling from group to group for over a year now, simply because I don't have the time to come up with new stuff like I used to. Now I really, really have to go. I wish I could have addressed more, but such is life.
  11. 7 points
    Scott Ruggels

    38 Years Ago Today

    Learned this from Facebook this morning. Thirty Eight Years ago today, George McDonald, Steve Petersen, and Ray Greer birthed the system we all know and love. Cheers!
  12. 7 points
    wcw43921

    Today is special because ?

    Did the flock of seagulls Ran? Did they Ran So Far Away? Could they Get Away?
  13. 7 points
    Arepo Is the Goddess of Death and Rebirth. Her geography is Jurmunganger the Long Land, a single narrow twisting continent that encircles the entire Torus - or would if at any given moment 30 to 59% of it were not underwater. Which is sea and which is land shifts according to complex interlocking cycles of varying lengths. Lucius Alexander The palindromedary says now we need to go eat a donut.
  14. 7 points
  15. 7 points
    Cygnia

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  16. 7 points
    I have to address one point that I keep reading and hearing mistakenly asserted. People entering the United States at other than an established checkpoint, who claim refugee status and request asylum, are not entering the country illegally. American law grants them the right to enter and remain within the United States until their claim for asylum is reviewed. This is done because people suffering persecution in their home countries are rarely allowed to travel freely to points of entry in potential sanctuary countries. Moreover, asylum seekers who enter the United States between those points of entry can exit custody on payment of a bond, and an immigration judge has the jurisdiction to reduce or even waive the bond if circumstances warrant. OTOH people arriving at a point of entry can't pay a bond -- their disposition is wholly at the discretion of ICE officials. Given the publicized attitude of the current American government toward immigrants, that incentivizes crossing the American border at some other location.
  17. 7 points
    Hugh Neilson

    Ideas from Other Game Systems

    There is "role playing", a foreign concept to many new to the hobby. And there is "game", which tends to mean "win or lose". Aligning the game to the role playing so that success is achieved by good role playing is good game design, whether embedded into the system or applied by the GM. If following the genre conventions and playing a heroic character means a lack of success in the game, then the game is a failure. Those heroes who embrace the heroic code, in genre, emerge victorious in the source material. One old article on the Star Trek RPG of the day made two excellent points. First, when offered the chance to embrace certain death in order to save a member of his crew, the Captain will always accept without hesitation. To do otherwise is a failure by the player to role play within the genre. Second, when that offer has been accepted, there will always be a way out, with a successful end to the scenario. To have no such way out is a far greater failure by the GM to role play within the genre. Too often, the GM who cannot understand why his players will not "play within the genre", or "play heroic characters" or whatever terms one wished to adopt, is the problem - his game and GM style penalizes playing within the genre, so his players resist, wishing to "win", and the GM cannot see that the failure to embrace the genre is as much, or more, with his GM style.
  18. 6 points
    I rather enjoy throwing this in people's faces ...
  19. 6 points
    The kickstarter for a new edition of the legendary Chivalry & Sorcery is now live. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cns5/chivalry-and-sorcery-the-medieval-role-playing-game This edition builds and refines the rules presented on the 4th edition, published 19 years ago. Sections on medieval society are greatly expanded, taking advantage of two more decades of historical research. Judaism and Islam join Christianity in the core rules for the first time, with sections written by members of those faiths who have studied medieval beliefs and practices. Guidelines for creating fantasy religions and pantheons are included. Alongside fantastical magick, an optional system presents magick from the medieval worldview. Disclosure: I am involved in designing this edition.
  20. 6 points
    Spence

    Perceptions of the game change

    Hero has had MANY rewrites and rulebooks. In addition to the big core books they had the Sidekicks and Basic Rulebooks which were streamlined books of 128 or 138 pages. Champions Complete is yet ANOTHER basic rewrite for only minor changes. The reason that hero is on basic life support and giving up the ghost fast is that it was decided in the past (4th or 5th?) to not provide any kind of campaigns or adventures. Real gamers don't use them and similar tripe. Sure, I still believe the 5th edition and 6th edition genre books are fantastic sources for designing worlds/campaigns. As are the setting books. But none of those products address the HUGE massively glaring missing part of the game. Literally every successful RPG on the market has it, except Hero. PLAYABLE Adventures and Campaigns. Yes, I know. The microscopically tiny remaining gamers that are even aware of Hero insist they "would never use prebuilt". But it is 2019 and the vast majority of gamers simply do not have time to built stuff. That is why D&D packs the house. Many of the people I know that play it don't even like D&D. But it is one of the only games that they can actually play, as in sit at a table and actually chunk dice. Hero has never been hard to play. It has never been overly hard to design characters providing the person doing it has a basic imagination. What has been made into a overwhelmingly daunting task is the requirement for the GM to design everything from practically scratch. Hero does not need Champions Now, Champions Later or Champions Counter Clockwise. What it needs is the minimum support for the existing line. Champions Complete is the current version. Now we need a few STARTER adventures suitable for initial build characters and at least one campaign to help new GM's with a practical and PLAYABLE example of a superworld. The myth that people do not buy or play adventures or campaigns may have been true years ago. But they are majority of product that moves in the here and now. I feel like we are a group of old curmudgeons out in the stable hammering out horse shoes because "Dag-nab-it, them there horseless carriages will never catch on".
  21. 6 points
    dsatow

    Champions for High School D&D Players

    Every super game needs: A Nazi themed association to fight. A Ninja style association to fight. I don't know why, but every superhero group loves fighting Nazis and Ninjas. Hey! That sounds like a new supplement.
  22. 6 points
  23. 6 points
  24. 6 points
    Cassandra

    Tactics skill?

    Tactics is like Deduction for Combat.
  25. 6 points
    Scott Ruggels

    dark champions was...

    Dark Champions suppliments were some of my first cover art, right after i did stuff for a Teenagers From Outer Space cover Hudson City Blues. Cover art, by me) (found it while putting my Vast hero collection up on the shelf.
  26. 6 points
    Oh, why not jump in. Pandemonium's primary domain is Chaos and Madness His Geography is the world is a Torus https://io9.gizmodo.com/what-would-the-earth-be-like-if-it-was-the-shape-of-a-d-1515700296 (I'm going with the hoop model with about six earth-masses but fairly earthlike gravity all around. This gives us a day that is 3.5 hours long, but that is a problem for the god of heavens. Also, tides are going to be strange or non-existent, but that is a problem for the god of waters. Or I might address both with interference. bwahaha)
  27. 6 points
  28. 6 points
    Cygnia

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  29. 6 points
    Since it seems the sticking point is explaining how Attack Rolls (which fundamentally work exactly like Skill Rolls) work; let's try. Attack Skill = 11+OCV. Literally forget everything else about OCV, DCV, and Combat. Just have them write down Attack Skill, 15- Edit: forgot, you only ever need to do this once, at character creation. Like you only ever really calculate you skill rolls once, at character creation. Skill Rolls: How much you roll under your Skill is how much you succeed by. If you have a Lockpick Skill of 14- and you roll a 10, you succeeded by 4. What does that mean? Well, the GM assigned a difficulty of 2 to the Lock. So, any roll that succeeds by 2 or more unlocks. (in Hero Combat Terms, the Lock has a DCV of 2, and your Lockpick Roll hit a DCV of 4 or lower, the explanations go both ways, because it's literally the same math.) Moving back to Combat; You make an Attack Roll, you roll a 9, you have succeeded by 6 on your Attack Roll. What does that mean? Well, DCV is just a target difficulty, like with Skills. Your target has a Difficulty of 5, you hit if you succeed by 5 or more. Modifiers: Attack Modifiers adjust the success level of the Attack Roll, just like Skill Modifiers adjust the success level of the Skill Roll. You can either add this onto the Skill Roll directly, or you can add it to the Success Level after the roll - the math is the same. If you have +1 to OCV you can either say your Attack Skill goes up to 16- or just add 1 to your Success Roll. Defense Modifiers adjust the target number, normally Skill Challenges have static target numbers (the Lock does not become more difficult or less difficult, typically, one attempt to the next), but Combat is fluid and sometimes positions change and the Target Number moves. Still - you're just adjsuting the target number, either yours or the GM adjusting the NPCs. And while this is typically yet another number to keep track of in combat, it's not especially unique to Hero - D&D has plenty of spells that adjust the AC modifier on the fly (heck, even as a reaction in the same Action sequence). Once you strip out the, poorly presented IMO, formula in Hero and literally treat Attacking like any other Skill Challenge you only need to teach one mathematical idea. In or out of combat, Attack Rolls are just Combat Skill Challenges and Skills are just Non-Combat Attack Challenges.
  30. 6 points
    Ya. I've been doing narrative and rules lite games for the last six to seven years (Fate Accelerated is a favorite; if you haven't checked out my Pathfinder Fate Accelerated stuff you might find it interesting), and only just came back to the Hero System by request of @WilyQuixote (who is a Hero System diehard player) and @Scything who became Hero System curious after years of hearing about past Hero System campaigns and from looking at stuff on my website. I think the essence of the HS is the SPD chart, the 3d6 bell curve for resolution, a pool of D6 for effect, separate STUN and BODY stats, maneuvers have CV modifiers built into them, sandboxy point buy vs class / level / tree. More limited things cost less than less limited things. Mechanically similar things use the same rules vs being arbitrarily redefined. The rest of it is largely embellishment, for me.
  31. 6 points
    RDU Neil

    Ideas from Other Game Systems

    I actually included something similar (after reading Blades in the Dark)... calling it "The Plan" in my game. I already have a bennie system with "Luck Chits" and I've been experimenting with a relatively simple process. 1. When a scenario calls for it, players come up with a general "plan of attack"... like "We want the infiltrate the club in disguise, after having hacked the security cameras, and gotten a decent floorplan. The goal is to narrow down where the hostage might be kept, and so our assault is fast and quick, with a planned getaway." That's it... no long involved arguing about how many grenades you are packing, or what language your hacking program is written in, or whatever... quick, general, covers the basic idea. 2. Each player/PC gets to role a "Prep" roll based on their skill/expertise/contacts, to contribute to "The Plan". (i.e. the hacker rolls to say "I'm gaining access to the security network through cables running through tunnels under the club." and the faceman says "I'm organizing our local support to have watchers on the street and around the building and a getaway driver." and the ninja says, "I'm going to infiltrate and get in position way ahead of time, before things go down." whatever...) Based on how well they roll, they get contribute plusses or minuses to "The Plan" roll. for example... hacker rolls well, that says he is in, with full view of all cameras, give a +2 to "The Plan" roll... but ninja rolled badly, he was able to get inside, but unable to get far due to unexpected employees showing up and can't break cover"... -1 to The Plan roll. The rolls help narrate the "set up montage" 3. Then, based on the total plusses or minuses... a player with Tactics or Teamwork... rolls. Based on how well they roll... the players gain Luck Chits for the group as a whole, that can be utilzed when necessary to say "I planned for this!" when they run into some obstacle in the actual op. For example, the PCs could only infiltrate with light weapons... but once inside, realized they were likely heavily out gunned. The ninja spent a chit saying, "I planned for this, and on my way in, I left a duffle bag of guns on the roof of the elevator off the kitchen." The PCs are then able to pick up a couple assault rifles and a shotgun before heading for the penthouse. A few more tweaks (like I set a number based on how difficult the target it... from Easy to Hyper Secure (infiltrating a night club owned by gangsters is easier than infiltrating an NSA black site)... but generally that's it. Players/PCs contribute to "The Plan"... a single roll is then made to determine how effectively the plan was up to the point of "Go" when the actual, moment to moment play begins... and a good roll provides "I planned for that..." bennies... or not if the plan wasn't so good. Have just recently begun trying it, but it works alright and I'm committed to using basic HERO skills and contacts, etc.... just using them in a different light.
  32. 5 points
    Ah! Here we go. Warning: Long and a bit academic. Now, socialism. For some Americans, trying to hold a rational and analytical discussion of socialism is like trying to hold a rational and analytical discussion of pedophilia: for them, the most important attribute of socialism is that it is EEEVIL and Un-American. Let us nevertheless see what the Dictionary of Political Thought has to say in defining socialism, without trying to argue whether it’s good or bad. As a purely economic doctrine, I’ve been told that socialism simply means that the state exerts some control over the means of production and distribution. One should probably add: For conscious pursuit of social or political goals. After all, in Medieval Europe the feudal aristocracy controlled the principle means of production — land — but this was not for some conscious program of social engineering, so I don’t think it would be fair to call manorialism “socialist.” Scruton notes that, as with so many political terms, “socialism” is a wide term. He sees two principal, though related meanings: First, “In Marxian theory and official communist language… the means of production are taken into social ownership, and the state persists as an administrative machine, upholding a new order of legality, and a new system of rights, in such a way as to permit the emergence of true common ownership, and the eventual abolition of the state.” I.e., the state owns everything in the name of the workers and peasants, with the promise that the state will eventually become superfluous and the workers and peasants will own and control everything themselves — but in common, not individually. (Scruton wrote his dictionary in 1982. Leaving aside the morality of socialism as practiced by the USSR and others, we may say this “hard-core socialism” has not fared well in experimental trials.) [ADDENDUM: In practice, Communism seems very often to function as a way for tiny elites to extract wealth from the populace, in the exact opposite of its stated goals. Acemoglu and Robinson's Why Nations Fail discusses examples in some detail.] In a second meaning, socialism is a philosophical and political doctrine that makes “a broad and comprehensive outlook on the human condition.” It’s also conceived as permanent, rather than a transitional stage to some future utopia. This broader interpretation of socialism is based on three postulates: 1) Equality: Equal opportunity as well as equal rights under law, with an eye toward equalizing outcomes for individuals. “The main consideration is that human beings have equal rights, since they are equal in every way relevant to those rights.” 2) The state as administrator: “The state is seen, not as the legal and ceremonial representation of civil society, but rather as a complex administrative device, designed to guarantee individual rights, and to distribute benefits among the citizens in accordance with those rights.” It must “provide and maintain the institutions which ensure that human goods — food, medicine, education, recreation — are made available to everybody on terms hat are as equal as possible.” But the state is not an end in itself; and it should not be used to propagate “religious doctrine, or nationalist ideology.” It is a powerful tool, but just a tool. 3) Elimination of systems of control. Class systems, hereditary privileges, and other means by which people control and compel each other violate the principle of equal rights, and so are unjust. Private property receives special mention: “Private property is permissible, but only insofar as it does not amount to a system of control.” While “Type 2 Socialists” reject the hard-core Marxian condemnation of all private property as a means of privilege and control, and may believe that private property is a legitimate expectation of citizens in a well-ordered society, socialists do think that vast concentrations of wealth and property can harm the interests of society and the citizens. “Hence, the state must always be ready to nationalize major assets, and should curtail or forbid the transactions that lead to large-scale private accumulation — such as gifts and inheritance.” As Scruton notes, socialism has a long and natural affiliation with labor movements, “for the obvious reason that, while it promises very little and threatens much to the class of property owners, it promises much and threatens little, or seems to threaten little, to the workers.” He also notes that under Western parliamentary government, socialism has shown it can be implemented pragmatically, democratically and with compromise, without attempting to impose any of the three underlying principles in pure form. Some even say “this ‘parliamentary road to socialism’ is in fact a creature so different from the socialism of the communist state as to be only misleadingly called by the same name.” Criticisms of “Type 2 socialism” reject one or more of its postulates, or see contradictions between them. For instance, some people insist that 1) is wrong and all people are not and should not be equal under law. Some thinkers argue that the state must be treated as an end in itself in order to obtain the loyalty of the people: As a pure service-provider “it comes to seem arbitary and dispensable, and therefore holds increasing power with increasing instability.” Other critics see a conflict between 2) and 3), arguing that the all-pervading power of the state merely creates another self-interested élite. It is also argued that the ideal of “social justice” that runs through 1) and 3) is “incompatible with the assertion of natural rights and freedoms.” I don’t see anything monstrous in this “type 2 socialism.” Arguable, either in theory or practice, but nothing outside the normal bounds of rational discourse. In fact, I accept postulate 1) without reservation; and I agree with postulate 2) with reservations (I see the state as a rational machine for achieving practical goals, but accept that to achieve those goals it may need to pretend to some greater majesty). 3) seems to be where the practical difficulties seem greatest, though I appreciate the goal. It’s a bad joke to talk of “rights” and “freedom” to people who are externally constrained by poverty, racism, etc. from being able to exercise them. Dean Shomshak
  33. 5 points
    Research sources aside, here's what I see as the What's Cool about a pseudo-Caribbean Age of Sail S&S campaign: There is no law. At all. Even if there's a pretense of colonial authorities, these are effectively just rival gangs out to rip as muych wealth from the region as possible. So if you get in a fight and leave a bar or back alley strewn with bodies and soaked with blood, nobody cares -- unless one of the people you kill is a company or colonial official, in which case you've made an enemy that can hire people to go after you, but it's because you crossed a gang not because you broke the law. It's a good setting for murder hobo adventurers. Pirates are just smaller gangs. Some are privateers working for bigger gangs, but such affiliations tend to be fluid. Today you're a privateer raiding the ships and towns of a rival colonial group, tomorrow you go freelance as a pirate, the day after you cut a deal and work for somebody else. This anarchic scramble rests on the fact there's lots of money to be made. Historically, you've got Spanish treasure ships carrying silver, gold and gems wrung from Mexico, passing through. But the sugar plantations were just as valuable. All you needed was enough disposable labor, which the African slave trade supplied in limitless quantities. Kill someone to take a pouch of gems? Big deal, around you the planters are killing countless slaves a year for the sweet white jewel of sugar. Any notions of morality or honor are personal, and make you stand out from the utter moral anarchy around you. Seems very REH to me. Many cultures are involved. Native population, several colonizers, Africa through the slave trade, and dribs and drabs of anyone else who lives by the sea because it's the Age of Sail and for the first time in history, everyone is in contact. (IIRC Trinidad and Tobago has a hefty percentage of South Asian ancestry.) So your fantasy analog can have people from anywhere as well. Magic and the supernatural can be similarly diverse. Pseudo-Aztec blood sacrifice, pseudo-African Voodoo, pseudo-European scholarly Hermeticism, and if you want to bring in a pseudo-Hindu sadhu or pseudo-Chinese Taoist, go for it. But thematically, magic with significant power should be dark and bloody, gained by human sacrifice and other horrible crimes. If you're willing to brutalize thousands and work them to death for profit, what's ripping out a few hearts to summon a demon or turn yourself into a loogaroo, nagual or other sort of shapeshifting vampire-witch? You can even have a pseudo-Atlantis as a source of artifacts. Maybe the islands are the remains of a lost continent destroyed by the crimes of its sorcerer-kings. And the fragments of power left behind are one more treasure for which men spend each others' lives. And maybe there are portals to this past, by which PCs can visit it -- and by which the Sorcerer-Kings seek to escape their doom and erupt into the modern world to resume their reign of horror. Or take a cue from the voyages of Maeldun, St Brendan, Odysseus and Sinbad. In addition to the settled islands there are faerie islands that appear and disappear, or appear only to people who know the proper path to sail, who perform the proper rite or possess the proper talisman. Maybe the secret base of the Pirate King is on such an island. Another prize, and another source of peril. Well, that's enough for now, I think. But yeah, I think a pirate S&S campaign would be an excellent choice. Dean Shomshak
  34. 5 points
    Spence

    Perceptions of the game change

    Well, you have just described exactly the business model that has led Hero from being the top of the of Superhero games list to being functionally out of print. It is not Pathfinder that has amazingly somehow found a method to sell adventures. Every single successful RPG, and by successful I mean actually selling books, has invested in well crafted adventures/campaigns. They are not throwing out dozens of half-baked one sessions. No, they are putting out one or two well crafted campaigns (6-12 chapters/adventures) a year. D&D, Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek Adventures, Star Wars and Shadowrun is just a short list of the lines currently succeeding at this. D&D is the actual example to use. They started with free league adventures, and then they changed to "buy and run one of our adventure books on league night". And it took off. The FLGS has a regularly scheduled league night and coordinates GM's, the biggest issue is enough GM's. There are new "as in I have never played D&D ever" players every league night and they always buy the Players Handbook and at least one Adventure book. Yes, the concept of using established groups to introduce individual new players to the game is neat. But when the established groups that play Hero are virtually extinct, it is still the same loosing strategy that was adopted in the late 90's. What Hero needs in 2019 is a new strategy aimed at "how to get new players using just the books by themselves" and "how to get Hero back into the spotlight so that it is on the FLGS shelf". 1) the rules are fine. DO NOT waste effort on yet another ruleset. 2) DO add a chapter(s) to the rulebook that contain an adventure with pregens to walk new GM's and players thru the process. 3) Publish at least one starter campaign, no end of the world mega villain stuff. Instead a local in city crime spree or revenge on the city by a local master villain/mastermind. Something that can be resolved by a new team based on standard supers build points. 4) Tap into the fan-base and allow them to create and sell adventures using something similar to D&D's DM's Guild and Chaosium's Miskatonic Repository. These allow fans to publish adventures and supplementary material and charge a price of which the company gets a cut, while maintaining control by limiting where they can be sold. 5) Establish some form of League Play. Either a prebuilt campaign adventure like D&D does or a campaign frame released in parts like STA. The point is the current strategy (95ish till present) has failed. A new strategy needs to be formulated and in this case we have a plethora of successful examples to emulate.
  35. 5 points
    Starlord

    Avengers Endgame with spoilers

    I wonder what the numbers would be for modern movies if the only time and place you could ever see them was during their run in a theater.
  36. 5 points
    Let's see if this will fly ... Doomsayer chooses his people: The Civil Beasts! Out of the beasts in the forests and fields of Torus, a few of every kind were chosen to be paragons of Laws and Justice -- grumpy but fair-minded badgers, shy moles dressed in tweed, smooth weaselly operators, and yes, one or two speed freaks for toads. Imagine them all walking upright, dressed in tweed and bowler hats. Pipe smoking optional.
  37. 5 points
    L. Marcus

    What is this weapon called?

    "I call it Vera!"
  38. 5 points
    Cygnia

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  39. 5 points
    Lucius

    Tactics skill?

    I've used it to let a player know a given plan might not work, or give a clue what the opposition might try. Lucius Alexander Remember, a palindromedary can reverse direction instantly....
  40. 5 points
    Cygnia

    Today is special because ?

  41. 5 points
    Old Man

    Today is special because ?

  42. 5 points
    Old Man

    Today is special because ?

  43. 5 points
    Hermit

    Today is special because ?

    As we all know, at one time, thirteen colonies in North America had been taken, built, and occupied by England's ruthless use of flags! Fluttered all the time, and gave cruel neener neener neener to those who had to face the fact they were not in control of their own destiny. But what could possibly stand against the might of a flimsy piece of cloth fluttering over us? THEN... the Contiental Congress realized the only way to knock the Brits back! A STERNLY WRITTEN LETTER! They called it a declaration just to make super DUPER Official, signed it, and sent it off to the King and Parliament. This so hurt England's feelings their flags shriveled up from the pain of rejection! (Happens to a lot of guys) France was stunned "Wait? The Americans have learned bureaucracy? I didn't even know they could read and write!" With their flags neutralized, England tried more agressive tactics and seized our greatest cities... George Washingon was like "HA...cities are for tourists.. catch me if you can..." And Nathaniel Green like "English Monkey in the middle!" ANd England was like "STOP IT! You're not playing the right game!" And France was like "You mean the game where your guys get trapped in the cities they took and now are surrounded?" And England was like "YES, thank you, civilized behavior at last and... ooo poop" And America was like "We're free now... saaay it... no crossing fingers..." "But I get repaid for this right?" France asked "Oh..yeah sure, you bet," America said "Pff, good luck collecting from THESE guys" England snorted, "little ingrates' And Canada was like "Don't worry, mum, we still love you" And England was like "Yes, your'e my favorite now, and I will never ever forget yo.. oooo look, is that Australia?" And Canada was like "#$#$#$#!" And since then, every July 4th, we Americans celebrate the power of a sternly worded letter!
  44. 5 points
    Pariah

    Today is special because ?

  45. 5 points
    sentry0

    Today is special because ?

  46. 5 points
    Rebastia is the God of the Waters. ALL waters!
  47. 5 points
  48. 5 points
    I admit, I miss Mjolnir. Don't get me wrong, Stormbreaker is impressive, and the depiction of its forging was epic. But IMO Mjolnir is so much cooler. It's also iconic. Like Cap's shield, Green Lantern's ring, the Silver Surfer's board, or Wonder Woman's lasso, Thor and his hammer are a set, and have been for generations.
  49. 5 points
    Bazza

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  50. 5 points
×
×
  • Create New...