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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/16/2019 in all areas

  1. 17 points
    Hero Games will be launching a fan-driven community content program on DriveThruRPG in about a month, similar to Dungeon Masters Guild and Storytellers Vault. It’s going to be called Hall of Champions, and it will allow you to publish your own work on DriveThru for profit under the banner of being a Hero Games product. (Though solely for commercial purposes on DriveThruRPG.) You’ll be allowed to publish using any version of the Hero System you like from 1st to 6th, including Champions Now. You will also be allowed to use both intellectual property that belongs to Hero Games, as well as the Champions Universe, which belongs to Cryptic Studios. The program will supply artwork and templates to work from to make the entire process as easy as possible. To being with, what I’m looking for are some initial fan contributions from you guys so that we have a certain number of products ready to go at launch. I’ve already received commitments from two of our third party publishers, but could use a bunch more from fans. There are (of course) significant rules governing the community content program, which I will share with you should you contact me. If you have work you would like to contribute, it needs only be in PDF form and have a JPEG cover image available. (This can simply be a copy of the front page.) Thank you as always for playing the Hero System, and I look forward to hearing from you. Jason Walters, Publisher jason@herogames.com
  2. 17 points
    Lord Liaden

    Hero system 7 ideas

    What I would do with a hypothetical Seventh Edition is avoid it like the plague. By this point the rules have been combed through, deconstructed, revised, game-balanced, clarified, optionized, and hair-split to within an inch of their lives. There are no more pressing problems in the system that need to be addressed. Any further modifications would simply reflect the personal opinions and preferences of whoever was given responsibility for creating a new edition; and we all already modify the RAW to suit our preferences anyway. For alternative ways of doing things, we have earlier editions to draw from. I see no need and feel no desire to invest time and money learning yet another iteration of Hero.
  3. 15 points
  4. 15 points
    Scott Ruggels

    Blast from the past part. 1

    So I have recently completed a move, to a place largr enough to not need storage. So I have bern unpacking many boxes of books. Along with finding all of my old gaming books, I found my character binder. Inside was the original Hero flyer announcing Champions, and also the character handed to me by either Bruce or Ray, for a game GMed by Steve Peterson an that convention back in 1981. I present it to you in the interests of the historical record.
  5. 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.
  6. 12 points
    If Doc Democracy or I start cursing or getting upset You'll know it is the election that has caused it,. I voted and helped take mum to vote. Had to walk the wheelchair down the hill as it would not go in the car but was able to wheel mum in and out of the polling station.
  7. 12 points
    Steve Long

    What Happened to Steve?

    My apologies for taking so long to respond to questions — real life snuck up on me and got in a Surprise attacking, Knocking me Out for several Segments until I could recover. I can't promise it won't happen again, but I'll try to Dive For Cover next time.
  8. 12 points
    In case folks hadn't heard, here's the recent posting on our Facebook page: We’re working on an update to our original San Angelo: City of Heroes product line, bringing the Origins Award-nominated sourcebook and setting into the 21st century! No definitive release date yet but we are shooting for Summer 2020. We’ll post updates here so be sure to follow us to get the latest info! I'll be posting material and sneak peaks, as well as answering questions, in this thread. See you at Liberty Square! SACoH Facebook Page | Twitter: @SACoHNews | IG: @SACoHNews | Website: SACoH.com
  9. 12 points
    Heck, I had pretty much abandoned the system. It IS the system that I know the best. So when the players wanted to play Supers, it was the game I chose. We are running a beginning 6e Champions Game. Dex 18, SPD 5, DC10 (62 active), CV 7 as our averages. So Skill levels (yet) The PCs are the newest hosts for Beings that are Iconic for a character type. Developing I'm BACK!! LOL
  10. 11 points
  11. 11 points
    I wish to ask for a bit of tolerance up front: While I generally try to put in as little set-up as possible (believing that if it was really noteworthy, it shouldn't need much help), but this time there will be some set-up. Forgive me, please. I had my youth group game today, though it didn't look like I would be doing much of anything ever again. I spent the bulk of Friday in the ER and was eventually stabilized and admitted for observation. Enough on that. I have a ceremony for calling the game to order. It started as a joke way back in the 70s, back when Bullwinkle would still pop-up in re-runs. It also started as a joke: the group (game was D&D) had been left in an intentional cliff-hanger as the majority of us were looking at finals, cram sessions, etc, and we figured at least four weeks before we got back to the game. Not only was it a cliffhanger, but the PCs were in far worse shape than I had anticipated them to be, in spite of copious fudging to keep them from being slaughtered. The day came that we re-convened. Before I developed my genuine old man voice, I was a fair mimic-- not great, but fair. However, I could _nail_ the narrator from Bullwinkle (and a few others). The chit-chat and catching up was slowing down, and I decided to call the game to order with a bit of humor, considering as how we were all in great spirits and about to dive into a dire situation. I broke out the Narrator voice and launched into a quote I remember from _childhood_, and don't know why: "When we left our story last time, things were in _terrible_ shape! Some of the nation's smartest geniuses were being turned into _complete_ idiots! It was all the result of a mean little man from a _mean_ little country--" [Boris voice]: Go on, say de name!" [Narrator]: Boris Badenuf. In desperation the government sent for Bullwinkle J. Moose I went on a bit further, while they were taking their seats, and trailed off while the came to order. Eventually, this went on to become a recurring gag, particularly when they were taking too long to settle themselves or if, when we left our story last time, things really _were_ in terrible shape. Over the next decade, it became first a tradition, then an inescapable ceremony. Adults appreciate ceremony and group culture, no matter how odd it is: "Hey, that's our thing! It's what we do!" Kids.... well, you know how those pre- and early teen years were: everything was awful; everything is uncool and corny (or whatever they call it now. Is "corny" still a thing?) About the third time I did it with the youth group, they began to groan and complain, and every week there's one or two "not this again!" and "why do you have to do this?!" nothing really malicious; they're just intent on letting their peers now that they are too cool to accept this crackpot ceremony. (and it doesn't matter that I can't do the voices anymore; they've never even heard of the characters. ) Flash forward forty years. I am in a hospital bed, awaiting transfer to an observation room, with a doctor telling me "Well, Mr. Oliver, you're not dead, but we have no idea why not. You've been stable for the last two hours, but we'd like to keep you under observation for the next 24 hours." Well, Doc; that won't work. My spine is busted up bad, and I have had about all of this bed it can handle. "Can you give us twelve hours?" [wife]: He will give you twelve hours. [me]: Apparently I'm going to, either way. skip ahead a few more hours. My wife has called my bi-weekly group to tell them there will be no Friday night game; she has called the Youth Ministries director to let the kids know there will be no Youth Game Sunday. (though we did have one, thanks to the miracle that left me alive). Some hours later, I am wheeled into an observation room. In the observation room are four of my youth group players, with a card. I'm awake enough to appreciate this by now, and I grin and make happy noises and tell them Mr. Duke is going to be fine in a few days. Well, _good_, says Colleen (Kinetica's player). Yeah, says Everette (Magnus's player) Yeah, Mr. Duke, I'm glad! says Eric (Red Cloak's player). Because when we left our story last time, things were in _terrible_ shape! Yeah, says Everette. Some of the nation's smartest geniuses --- then all four, like they were reciting a poem-- were being turned into _complete_ idiots! It was all the result of a mean little man--- and so on. I'm fifty nine years old, and despite what I've thought for several decades now, I'm not done crying. That's my quote of the week from my gaming group, and quite possibly the best one I've ever had, posted or otherwise. I apologize for the lengthy set-up. Duke
  12. 10 points
  13. 10 points
    Just hanging this out there. Artist for Hire. Have illustrated several 3rd, 4th, and 5th edition products. B/W or color. Ping me if interested please.
  14. 10 points

    Movies and TV Shows That are Great

    WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982) This hilarious sitcom not only had a great cast, but proved to be a showcase for Loni Anderson's talents. and as a reminder of how good this show was "As God is my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly."
  15. 10 points
    Hey, maybe the door doesn't swing that way...
  16. 10 points
  17. 10 points

    Captain Marvel with spoilers

    Getting 'subversive man-bashing' from those scenes requires an ability to reach that Mr. Fantastic would be proud of IMO. Well, maybe unless that's what you were looking for all along, I suppose.
  18. 9 points
  19. 9 points

    What happened to HERO?

    Well, actually you are on the Hero boards and that thought is sacrilege Years ago I and others made the same arguments we were subjected to the BBS version of “shouted down”. My version was to create the equivalent of a D&D starter with prebuilt everything for a small standard fantasy game through the 3rd “level”. All the lists shortened to just the basic delving needs. Not details for builds in the “lists”. Just what it does and the final point cost. For example: Spell: Fire Bolt, does 4d6 Normal Flame damage. Cost ## char points. Weapon: Broadsword, 1d6+1. Cost ## gold. Just enough information to make 3-5 basic heroes that can go into a small dungeon and kill some goblins. And then “level up” a little. The entire point to to simplify the initial character build by pre-packaging as much as possible which allows new FH players to exercise the game system before having to learn the build system. An appendix in the “Fantasy Hero” starter would list everything that had been provided, weapons, spells, etc. and their point builds for the players after they have run through a few games and want to “customize”. Being able to compare a build they have actually played in a game to the rulebook is very helpful. Especially if they are self-teaching. Take a humdrum “standard” or “typical” party of PC’s 1st level Human Fighter 1st level Elf Ranger 1st level Human Wizard 1st level Halfling Thief 1st level Human Cleric There is practically no difference for these basic builds in D&D, Pathfinder, 13th Age, etc. A thief is a thief. A fighter is a fighter. And so on. The world they are placed into are also virtually identical, just bearing different sounding made up names/labels. I have personally mixed and matched adventures between the systems. The point is not to present a unique and exciting all-encompassing world. The point to quickly and easily present a few stereotypical PC’s and run them through a small number of learning/practice games. They can then use that experience to give them a perspective on the full rules. The difference between Hero and many other RPG’s is that most popular RPG rules give the players prepackaged options but do not actually release the underlying structure that was used to build the options. They give you the rules to play and build PC’s, but not the rules to make the rules. Hero plops the underlining rules needed to build everything and then expects everyone to simply understand with no frame of reference. With each edition of Hero, any intuitive understanding of the game concepts was drowned in the unbelievably verbose walls of text. At least in my opinion.
  20. 9 points

    My history with Heroes system

    Something in the title of this thread spoke to me. My history with Champions is so bound up with my real life that one couldn’t exist without the other. Around 35 years or so ago I was a guy in my 20’s and a girl I liked said “you like comics, I play a game that’s kind of a D&D for comic books.” “Come see if you like it.” So I went. If she said “Hey, every Saturday night we cut off our own heads, wanna come along?” I would have gone. I knew a couple of the people vaguely and I did have fun. The next two decades or so just kind of flew by. Some of that group and others that I met along the way became the best friends I’ve ever known. Others became enemies. A very few are closer to me than my own brothers. I became Godfather to the children of the “kid” I first got to know when driving him in to Boston to play after inviting him to join our group. He’s a man now of course and a Captain of Firefighters. (a REAL Hero) He met the lovely woman who would become his wife over a Champions game. The games came and went. GM’s and players did the same. Some friends have passed away, and when we remember them we always end up saying that they’ve just gone ahead to save us the “good table” in a room with a blackboard to put up a Dex Chart. Time and circumstance has spread us across the map although we stay in pretty constant touch. And I myself haven’t picked up a set of dice in a decade or more, but I think about those days often. Times both spent at the Game table and away, love and laughs and inside jokes we now have to clean up so we can explain them to the kids. Thinking about the title of this thread made me want to say to those who created this sometimes silly game and may have thought this a small accomplishment in a big world....Thank You for what it’s meant to the life of just this one player.
  21. 9 points
    You're stating a conclusion (Combined Attacks should take a Full Phase) as a fundamental assumption and reasoning from there instead of supporting it. And I feel it's a heavily flawed assumption. It relies on another assumption, that using more than one power at once is an advantage. If the GM is keeping things sane, using a Combined Attack is different, not better. If the GM is allowing 3x14d6 in a 14 DC game then of course it's broken, but arguing based on that is as intellectually dishonest as arguing that Hand Attack is OP because technically STR 60 and Hand Attack +12d6 are two 60 AP powers not one 120 AP power so you can have 24d6 in a 60 AP game. So I'm going to take a little digression here to talk under the assumption that the GM allows whatever as long as sum AP fits in the cap. What happens with combining two damaging powers? That's a rhetorical question, we all know that 2x6d6 is going to be nearly useless in a 12 DC game. In fact, you have to go to 2x9d6+1 to break even with a basic 12d6 (assuming 25 DEF). At 2x9d6+1, then a Combined attack is more expensive, better on soft targets but worse on hard targets, never inflicts Stunned, deals less Knockback, and costs half again as much. Combining a damaging attack and a non-damaging attack trades damage for utility, and means you bounce harmlessly off anyone with the appropriate exotic defense. Blast 8d6 + Flash 2d6 + Drain 1d6 means basically nothing if the target has FD and PowD 5. Ego Attack 3d6 + Mind Control 6d6 means you deal half damage and generally don't mind control meaningfully unless you're going for really low hanging fruit. In fact, the only time splitting your AP into two attacks is even a wash is 3d6NND + 3d6NND, and all you've done there is split your risk of losing damage and open yourself up to doubling the defender's Damage Negation. So in conclusion, because of HERO's subtraction based defenses and threshold based effects, a Combined Attack of powers that sum to a given AP is outright less effective than just using singular powers of the given AP. So what has to happen for Combined Attack to be as effective? I touched on this above, but you have to add enough additional DCs to overcome the target's defenses again. And this still doesn't help with Stunning and Knockback, a Combined Attack just won't do those well. Let's look at Damage Negation based defenses since they make things easy here. Defending Dan has 6DCs of DN. Attacking Anne has 12d6. She deals 6d6. If she were Combined Attacking with two attacks, she'd have to have a sum of 18d6 to get that same result, since Dan's DN would apply twice. Three attacks would need 24d6 sum to get 6d6 though. So on and so forth. So if for a single attack RAWDAM - DEF = DAM, then for a Combined Attack sum(RAWDAM) - DEF*Attacks = DAM. Plug in values for DEF and DAM and you can solve for RAWDAM. This gets a bit more complicated when exotic defenses enter the equation (you have to use sum(effectiveness*(RAWDAM-ThatDEF)) instead) but it holds. Except, whoops, what's happening to the cost per damage as the number of attacks goes up? Cost goes up too! So in conclusion, because of HERO's subtraction based defenses, a Combined Attack as effective as a singular attack costs more. So what has to happen for Combined Attack to be advantageous? You have to blow a giant pile of points and the GM has to check off on a construct that looks more powerful because there's more raw dice. There's some pretty efficient cases, (NND+NND for example) but they're also the most obviously powerful. And our counter-argument is simply one of logic: That thing is not this thing. Want "supporting evidence"? FRED puts the Multiple-Power Attack rules around forty pages away from the Rapid Fire and Sweep rules. Very clearly very different things! 6e just moved them together because they're similar, not because they're the same.
  22. 9 points
    What I got from Obama's statements is that he's found the self-professed "woke" are (a) often feeling smug and self-satisfied that calling out problematic behavior and statements is enough, without recognizing the need to take further action; (b) that they are rigidly judgemental, not accepting that flawed people can also be good people, and that you can still share values with people you disagree with.
  23. 9 points

    Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)

    I don't think it was teh bunneh...to give a bit of credit here, this is likely just advanced planning on Trump's part, though it is giving away his intentions in regards to the Mexican-American War (we never said we'd protect the southwestern states forever). Once he renegotiates the peace treaty and pulls our troops out, Mexico will have control over Texas, Arizona, Utah, California, New Mexico, and Nevada. It is to be assumed that western Colorado will be used as a bargaining chip by Pence during the cease fire negotiations.
  24. 9 points
    This is a good example of why a voluntary taxation scheme or opt-out system is a very bad idea. All of us, including you, ScottishFox, benefit every day from the advantages of an educated populace. That you would only be interested in paying for the education system when it directly benefits you and yours is disgustingly selfish. Would you also argue that if you don't drive, none of your taxes should go to roads?
  25. 9 points
    You know, after working in a scrutiny committee where we have spoken to government offices and private companies when something has gone wrong or not accomplished its goals, I have had a MUCH easier time tracking responsibilities and money through the government offices than through private companies. And when things go wrong with government offices, we could suggest changes to the way they accounted for things or made decisions and those suggestions usually resulted in changes to make scrutiny better. There are a number of big private companies that have lost billions of pounds (many of them banks) where we end up not only failing to hold any individuals responsible for losing the money but throwing them wodges of public money to ensure they do not go out of business. We get lots of businesses asking the government to make policy to support their industry (usually at the expense of what their products cost the public) and then fail to pay their workers a living wage or withdrawing their healthcare as a way to force an end to a strike. It is trendy to say Government cannot run anything, that private businesses are a better model for government services. However, for businesses to thrive there needs to be a credible possibility for them to fail (efficiency is not driven by a desire to be the best but a fear of what will happen when a more efficient business cuts your grass). The problem is that you do not actually want a hospital, a school or even a prison to fail. It is rare for such businesses to fail in a clean way where the patients, pupils or prisoners do not suffer in some way. It is also rare for the owners of such businesses to suffer in anything like the same way - the CEO is often out and into another well-paid job as are the board and others. The failure of the organisation seems to stick to them less prominently than it does to the shop-floor workers who may find it MUCH more difficult to find new jobs. I am not saying government run is good by default, indeed there is much that government organisations should take from private businesses in achieving efficient business practice but I think that if a private company wants to dip into the public trough, or commit to providing a public service, then they need to be prepared for a much closer scrutiny of their finances than they would otherwise be prepared to do. A rant, sorry, but the casual use of government-run equating to bad is one of my triggers... Doc
  26. 9 points
  27. 9 points

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

    Then the teacher should speak more clearly. Back in my Circuit City days, I had a co-worker tell a customer that I'd be able to answer all of his questions. The customer looked at me, and said, "Oh, yeah? How high the moon?" To which I immediately replied, "about one and a third light-seconds or around 400,000 kilometers, give or take." He looked at me with very wide eyes, and said, "Oh." After a moment, he then asked me about a laptop.
  28. 9 points
  29. 9 points

    Political Discussion Thread (With Rules)

    So much wrong with this I don't even know where to begin. And I say that as one who has a conservative bent when it comes to illegal immigration. Pardon, it used to be conservative- now, because I don't like the idea of tearing families apart and placing kids in concentration camps I'm apparently a hippie or what not. Folks should come through the doors our country provides, but those doors? They need to be OPEN and ready to receive. We have a moral and ethical obligation to help those coming here seeking freedom and democracy, who cannot achieve it where they come from. As soon as they say the Oath, they're as American as any one who has some great great someone or another that stepped off the Mayflower. And there's a good chance they can answer more questions about our Congress to boot. THEY had to take a test. I know some others will disagree, but the way I see it... You become an American, everything good about the United States of America becomes yours to take pride in. That's right, if you're born in Ethiopia or Thailand or wherever, come over here, earn your citizenship you get to be proud of the moon landing? WHY? Because you have just as much right to be as any other American of this generation and we should treasure what's best in us, cultivate it, and yes damn it be a bit proud. It's like cheering your home team when it's not YOUR ass making a touch down, you still cheer. On the flipside, while you don't have to take the blame for every bad thing America or Americans did- You do gain a sacred responsibility to keep those dark days from happening again. Trying to live up what is best in our country, fighting hard to fix the worst and keep old evils from rising again is the duty of anyone who claims to love their country. Waving the flag is cheap, making it worth waving is what matters. There are going to be a lot of disagreements on what it will take to embrace the best, deny the worst. We're not all going to agree. Welcome to a Democratic Republic! We all love the rags to riches story. We all love the idea of folks coming with nothing and through hard work and sweat making it big. But to me that is not the American Dream. It is the FREEDOM to chase your dreams that is what matters. Some want wealth, some want safety for their family, some want the chance to do something they love. A few want to help their fellow man. You have the chance! But thanks to racist bullcrap like Trump and his goons are trying to enact into policy multitudes wont' even get the CHANCE to prove themselves legally? We won't even offer a hand to them as they come in? To assume that because of WHERE they came from, what they own, and not who they are, that they cannot be worthy of freedom? That we can't let them have legal means to join us? That is racist, regionalist, hateful, and let's just admit it, a betrayal on a moral and ethical level so profound that it is treasonous to the American soul. I'm so pissed right now I could shove a flag pole up some bigot's ass! "In God We Trust" is our current motto, but your actions determine who you are giving worship to. Right now? Trump is the high priest of fear and greed, and I didn't sign up to kiss the asses of either Phobos OR Mammon. It sickens and disgusts me that so many of my fellow citizens are gladly puckering up.
  30. 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
  31. 9 points

    Superhero Cosplayers

    Juggernaut by PretzelBot
  32. 9 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!
  33. 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
  34. 9 points
    Robert Muller, as transcribed by NPR. Emphasis by myself:
  35. 9 points
  36. 9 points
    Buy the magic as Requires A Skill Based Roll. Buy the corresponding skill. Buy two levels in the skill, Usable Only During Daylight. This achieves the two point difficulty swing without any fancy business on the Requires A Roll modifier, since it offloads the variability to the skill itself.
  37. 9 points

    In other news...

    Flat Earthers Spend $20,000 Trying To Prove Earth Is Flat, Accidentally Prove It's Round
  38. 9 points

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  39. 8 points
  40. 8 points
    Followup! Today's ATC reports that Pompeo reacted to Mary-Louise Kelly's interview, and report on his subsequent meltdown, by accusing her of lying: That she hadn't really told his staff she'd ask about Ukraine, and that she had actually agreed to talk with him, alone, off the record. (He did not dispute her account of his profanity-laced rant, though.) And of course he said it was just one more case of the media's psychotic hatred of the Trump administration. So the ATC newsroom invited NPR's CEO, John Lansing, to respond to Pompeo. Mr. Lansing expressed full confidence in Ms. Kelly as one of the country's most respected and professional journalists, Oh, and that she has the email chain with Pompeo's staff, setting up the interview, in which she says and they agree that she will ask about Ukraine. This is all a bit familiar to me from my late father's stories about his work as an investigative reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune. More than once, he offended locally prominent people who threatened to sue him and the paper for libel. His response was always the same: "Go ahead." They never did, or at least they never won. The threats never stopped him, or the TNT, from running a story. So if Mr. Pompeo believes Mary-Louise Kelly lied, twice, on air, about him and his office... he should sue. Proving in court that a major news organization lied through its teeth would certainly be feather in the Trump administration's cap. But he won't, just like the Trump administration has never sued for libel despite all their proclamations that the news media are lying. Because they know they will lose. Dean Shomshak
  41. 8 points
    Scott Ruggels

    The Old C64 Video Game

    Oh my god! This again. I worked on that damned game. The crew was Steve Peterson, Ken Zarifies, Nicky Robinson, her (soon to be ex) husband, Ray Greer, Bryce Nakagawa, and myself. It was for 386, and 486 machine gun it’s SVGA capability, and it was my first computer animation gig, out of college, and Lordy was that a labor intensive game. Bryce and I replaced another artist, who’s well drawn porn comic took off. We scrapped his character art, and Bryce took over interface and some backgrounds and I did character sprites and effects. It was a slog as the scale of the characters changed (smaller) and the animation catalogue increased. The test and convention builds worked well, but he bottleneck was the scripting system; and Steve could not get a handle on it, especially with the 3in. Disk based limits. Hardware was tiny back then. Only the character generator from that game made it out of that project. That became Heromakr.exe which shipped with the BigBlueBook.
  42. 8 points
    "They're allowed to kill our people. They're allowed to torture and maim our people. They're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people," he told reporters on Sunday evening. "And we're not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn't work that way." No, it doesn't work that way. Iran isn't "allowed" to do any of those things. Much of what they -- or to make a finer legal point of it, their proxies -- are doing are war crimes, by international law. But someone breaking the law doesn't excuse your breaking the law to punish them. When no one follows the law, only the law of the jungle applies, and the foundations of civil society crumble. That's the way it works. I am pleased to see that the American military leadership have enough backbone to stand up for the legal articles of war, when so many politicians seem to have become invertebrates.
  43. 8 points

    The "Nice Happy" Thread

    My daughter had forfeited her electronics privileges for a couple of weeks and decided - out of sheer boredom - to play "D&D" with the Saturday group (we use HERO system). She loved it. Now my wife and daughter are both at the table for the Saturday game.
  44. 8 points
    Duke Bushido

    What happened to HERO?

    Sorry to disappoint, but I don't think I have that kind of time tonight! Not at all; go right ahead. Okay, assuming that you did: First off: 4e isn't too terribly different from three and pre-three: it's essentially all the supplemental and additional rules from all the related non-Champions games published by HERO games up to that point. It's a neat idea, but in the end, required a lot of shaving and cobbling to push it all together. It worked, at least as a game system, but in rendering them all "part of a single universal system," it took a lot of the genre or setting-specific "feel" away from these rules, as well as crowding them into places that we had never really needed them before. It's a bit long-winded, and-- well, let's move on for a bit. First and apparently most-importantly, at least in terms of brevity, is that they weren't written by lawyers. Yeah.... that's going to get some hate, so let me add more (in my opinion, totally unnecessary save for the touchiness of people these days) to that sentiment: I have _never_ met any of the Holy Legions of Champions authors. (and to be fair, the one I regret not meeting the most is probably Aaron Alston; his writings and the mythos around him suggest to me that I would have _loved_ hanging out and discussing things with him, rolling dice, etc). Never. Not once. Why? Well, there was no Champions when I was growing up in Alaska, and when there _was_ Champions, I lived in Georgia. Not a lot of those folks from this area. Until Steve, none of them lived within two days of me, and the only Con around here is Dragon Con, which I think we have _all_ boycotted since "The Revelation." (Proudly, I might add) I have not met people who have met these people. However, I _have_ spoken repeatedly with people who have met a lot of these folks, and I have had my suspicions confirmed: these are great guys. These are (as I always suspected) _real human beings_ who do real things, one of which is "enjoy playing (or at least playing with) games." So when I condemn the "written by lawyers," it is not the people who are lawyers I am condemning. It is the writing of lawyers I am condemning. Look up the Constitution of the United States and _read_ it. I _dare_ you! Not that part we all had to memorize in grade school; the hand-written stuff is _easy_! Get to the stuff added in later years. Keep going. I'll come back in a couple of years and check on you. Which part was easy? Which part was unnecessarily over-verbose, ponderously painful to read, required breaking down and diagraming sentences to make sure you followed and understood what was what and which was where and about who? Oddly, all of this deeply-detailed over-specificity is done in the name of clarity. Fine. So Power descriptions go from one or two paragraphs to a full column, to one or two pages for each subsequent edition. Does that add anything? Nope. Each new edition gets better and better indexing, sections, sub-sub-subtitles, etc. Does that add anything? Nope. How can I say these horrible things?! For one, it's been my experience that people who enjoy role-playing games tend to be readers, and it's been my experience that readers aren't really stupid. We can be curmudgeons, disagreeable, opinionated, and bastardly, but not generally stupid. When given an outline, we can fill in enough details to make it all work. Best part of that? We tend to bias those filled in blanks with things that we like. When something _seems_ to conflict, we will either read and reread until we get what we missed, or we will re-interpret it in such a way that it doesn't conflict anymore. So let's publish new, more intricate, more complex rules: We will fill in the blanks for you. Now each power seems to have a long list of how every other power _must_ interact with this power, and how each advantage works with every power-- literally broken down by power! There are a lot of reasons I disagree with that, the two foremost being this goes against the grain of advantages being fixed mechanics and pushes more toward the "typical" RPG model of telling you precisely how your power works, period. We are moving away from "Blast" and toward "Ice Blast," "Laser Vision," "Heat Ray, Normal," and "Heat Ray, Gun." Yes, a bit hyperbolic, but still: this level of specificity _denies_ "the generic, do-anything system!" mantra we use to support it. The additional verbiage doesn't help: Define each Advantage-- go into great detail there, if you want-- even list out powers that you shouldn't apply it to if you're obsessed about making sure everyone is playing it your way, but leave it to the groups or the GMs to determine how they affect the Powers. Personally, I've always felt that if an Advantage can't be applied to every Power, then it should be an adder for the powers to which they can be applied, but you don't see me trying to force that on people, do you? Where does all this stuff fit? Where is it written? Okay, I wish to alter my Skill Levels mid-combat: a situation that I missed but was told to me yesterday: can skill levels be altered when you abort? Well, let's check under Combat. Nope. Aborting? Nope. Here it is, under Skill Levels! Why?! Sure, it's a good thing we have an index, but an eighty-page rulebook was even better: check this three-page section. Nope. Check this half-column. Nope. Check this column on Skill levels. But why? Why would you put the combat particulars for a skill under the skill description when all other skills simply have "what this does and how it works," and all other "here's your combat options" are under "combat?" Why put this one thing in an entirely _separate book_? We have an index now, so I suppose searching through 800 pages must now be easier than searching through 80 (or fifty-six). Reading non-lawyer text is easier. I totally grant that whoever wrote 4e (the name escapes me; Bell, wasn't it?) was unusually "not dry" for a lawyer, and even Steve tends to be less dry with the setting books and genre books (more "not dry" with the settings than the genre), but rules? Straight to the lawyer speak (with jarringly "not dry" examples, because I assume he gets tired of lawyer speak, too). Each new addition adds new Powers / Skills / Whozi-Whatsits! Does it? I have no idea how many, but I know that there are members still active on this board (besides me) who have been playing since 1e, or 2e or 3e (which seemed to have the largest number of "my first Champions," presumably because it was more successful and wide-spread by then)-- well, let's just say who have been playing since the early to mid eighties. 4e pulled stuff from all the 3e sources, and it added "Multi-Form" and EDM and T-form (though I swear, I _think_ T-form was a fall-out from Fantasy Hero. My daughter has my FH books right now, so I can't check). It also added "Talents" and changed some pricing for this or that. Oh, and Desolid officially lost its granularity, resulting in it ending up being used pretty regularly as "immune to damage." Or, as I have always been privately amused to notice: it added the things we argued about the most! That's not better, in my own opinion, but your mileage etc. Math fanatics seem to have been the happiest by the costing changes; I was disappointed by the loss of 1/4 END cost the loss of the extreme cost of 0 END on high-dollar powers. Damn balancing the friggin' _math_; I'm trying to balance characters against each other in actual _play_. Put another way: it became less expensive to become way more "effective" if you were mathy enough, and not all my players are that mathy. Further, I do math all damned day for money; I don't want to come home and do it again for "fun!" It's not my bag, but suddenly I'm having to do all sorts of it for my less math-inclinded players who are desperately trying to keep up with the point-shaving pros. Yeah, that's not a new thing, but with eight-dozen new options, it became much more prominent. Today, it is the most _famously renowned part of the system" to outsiders, totally killing any other attraction the game may have to the majority of people who just want to pick up and play something. But I questioned if the new stuff added anything; I should address that. (Hey! You were right, Amorcka! Seems there _is_ a wall of text coming!) 1) There were no Hulk Clones before 4e. 2) There were no Doctor Strange Clones before 4e. 3) There were no Shape Shifters before 5e. 4) There are new things like "MegaScale" 5) All of the above are bull snuckles. Why Multiform when we already had "Only in Hero ID?" It was pretty easy to extrapolate that into "only in Hulk ID." And we did. I mean, it made a lot of sense for "Accidental Change." Certainly that limitation couldn't apply only to people who had bought "Instant Change?" If that was the case, Instant Change could be more-than-free if you were willing to take a chance on the dice; effectively free if you stuck with 8 or less. I am willing to bet most inter dimensional travel was handled by tweaking Teleport. Most of the groups (man, I miss the 80s with their "game stores and game groups _everywhere_" golden good times! Yeah, I'm not Australian enough to be able to fully commit to that joke) I encountered were doing it as a -0 Limitation: only for interdimensional travel, but again: mileage varied, and people tended to do _what they liked_. Shape Shifters? Hell, I _still_ ignore the disaster that 5e gave us: the biggest reason you shape shift is to gain some sort of advantage: certain powers, disguise, whatever-- the fact that you changed shapes is just a special effect. You don't even need multiform for this; do it the original way: A list of powers with "only in appropriate ID / form." Decide with your players which forms are appropriate and cost it accordingly. Certain forms won't have +15 STR; certain forms won't have 3 levels of Shrinking, either. Was one better than the other? Well, go through the history of the board. Use the Wayback Machine to find as much of the old Red October as you can. Which one generated the most disagreement? Spurred the most complaints, confusion, and discussion? Mega Scale, while never really written up as an advantage, has floated around many game groups-- those who were interested enough of had a strong enough need to build it-- since the very first edition, when the maps presented in The Island of Doctor Destoyer were spelled out as being displayed in Tactical Hexes, and the movement of the helicopters was given in Tactical Hexes. No; no stats for that, but it's not hard to take the inspiration and extrapolate, or come up with it on your own, if you have a need. (We called ours "UpScale," because in the eighties, "Tactical" was pretty much a buzzword used to sell absolute garbage on TV. Come to think of it, that came around again in the mid oughts, with the new LED "Tactical Flashlights" and-- well, utter crap painted black. Even today, calling something "tactical" makes me feel all Skeevy McFastbuck). Which one -- well, let's skip that. The shorter approach to the discussion-- rather than rattling off example after example of differences-- is that the newer editions focus on minutiae; minutiae that wasn't really a problem for most people. Yes: if you didn't have a group already, you didn't have anyone to bounce ideas off of to get an idea how something might or might not work, and I agree: that kind of sucked. Still, it wasn't insurmountable. You could still get an interpretation that worked for you, and if you finally found a group, that's how you played. Once upon a time, we accepted with _any_ game that some people were going to play it differently, and you let it ride. As a result of the steady push of "must play the same," when we offer up "house rules" or rules variants, there is endless discussion about the pros and cons (which I enjoy), and invariably there is at least one person taking major issue on the grounds that it is _not_ "The Rules as Written" (there is more complaint here about drifting away from the letter of the rules than there is in church, for Pete's sake), and is therefore wrong. Yeah; it's easy enough to ignore that, but still- what's the driving force? Tighter and tighter bindings of the "must do this way" phrasings of the rules. Today, the big control-freak push to make sure that everyone is playing the _exact_ _same_ _way_ is even more ridiculous: rather than make a call or an interpretation that works for everyone in your group, we can send a letter to the author (which, I do not deny, is _extremely_ gracious of him, and re-enforces all I've heard about him being a wonderful human being) to make sure we are playing a game correctly. While there is a small resurgence for certain old classics, this isn't one of them. As others have noticed, HERO is pretty much dead, at least for now and for the foreseeable future. It was dead before 5e stopped pumping out books; it was dead before 6e came to exist. Google it up, and you find us few diehards, and lots and lots of nostalgia about "this game that used to exist." With the fan base at an all-time low and dwindling, sweet merciful Jesus on a stick, why does it matter that we are all playing the exact same way?! The only single partially-justifiable reason for making calls that may counter your group's enjoyment of the game is the laughable idea of importing a character from one table to another. Yes; I said it: laughable. Allow me to recant that and rephrase as "Damned laughable." Where does it happen? Let's see... Now I'm not playing favorites, here, but in my time on this board, I have had interest in playing with _many_ of the forum members, as I enjoy their takes on certain things. In no particular order, if I were to select five at random, let's make a quick run-down: Chris Goodwin: lives, based on his posts, somewhere near Seattle. Maybe some hours from it, but a damned sight closer to Seattle than Vidalia, Georgia. Lord Liaden. Trapped in the frozen wastes of Cannuckistan. Same for Hugh-- though he's never stated it as such, he gives off a powerful vibe of having also been born and raised in the mystic lands of Canadia. Doc Democracy: Again, I'm not entirely certain, but I think Scotland or thereabouts. If that's the case, I couldn't play there anyway, because while Scottish reads and writes enough like English to allow easy communication, it certainly doesn't translate as easily for spoken conversation. Sean (Shawn?) who's last name fell from my mind even as I went to type it.... From England. I think he's only popped up one time since I came back, though he used to be extremely active in rules and variants discussions. Not only is it no less time and money-i-don't-actually-have consuming to visit--- WATERS! Sean Waters! -- him than it would be to game with Doc Democracy, but by Sean's own admissions, he doesn't actually _play_ the game. Still, lots of neat ideas about tweaking rules. Christopher Taylor: he is extremely invested in his personal fantasy setting, which makes me believe that as a GM, he could really sell it, and even though it's Fantasy, I would probably have a great time. I think he's in the US, but _where_? And even if it were only a two-day drive, well-- that's a hell of a trip. We are diverse and spread out enough (certainly there are lots and lots of players who aren't on this forum. Or I'd like to believe so. It's been my own experience that there are lots and lots of _former_ players who aren't on this forum because they're pretty sure HERO and Iron Crown both died some time in the 90s) that the odds of actually being able to _present_ a character to another group is in itself laughable. Then there's the absolute fact that the GM has guidelines for his campaigns (well, most of them do. Mine are pretty damned lax, and I'm not changing that, which just reinforces where I'm going), particularly non-supers games where "no; my magic works _this_ way," or "no; I'm not willing to let your 35 STR adventurer in this game because that's above the level of realism I'm going for" or "no; you have to take 'real weapon' because that's how I want all equipment built' and on and on and on and on and on and on and on---- There is a _perceived_ need, at least among some people, that making sure we are playing lock-step with identical rules is a good thing. Personally, I think it stifles creativity and results in characters-- and sometimes adventures-- that all have a certain sameness. I don't view that as a good thing. You know what? Let's just stop. Let's stop with the examples and the discussions and the complaints and even all the stuff I've just said. It's stupid. The point is, as many well-practiced individuals point out above, that the editions all play the same. Granted, that's because you can pick and chose the rules you want to use from _any_ edition, and I expect that most of us are going to select only the "new stuff" that we like and are using only the rules that let us more or less play the way that we always have. Granted, this is another point on the side of "why all the verbiage, then?", but remember that different people are going to like different new stuff, so there's that. But still---- I can sum _all_ the differences between "old" and "new" with one word (and probably should have, about four thousand words ago ): "No." There is a Hell of lot more "NO" in the newer editions than there were in the old ones. The old ones are short, easy to read, learn, and teach, and extremely open to creativity and novel suggestions. The new ones tell you precisely how you must use individual Advantages and Limitation and how that varies from Power to Power to Power to Power.... Each time you expressly say "this is how it's done," you are also saying "it cannot be done any other way," and I find that unconscionable next to the idea of "build anything you imagine." So there you have it: The differences between the new editions and the old editions? They are all personal problems. Enjoy. Duke
  45. 8 points

    Funny Pics II: The Revenge

  46. 8 points
  47. 8 points
    As I see it, D&D has the following advantages: Name recognition. D&D has by far the most name recognition out of any RPG and is, still, in 2019 A.D. synonymous with paper and pencil roleplaying. In the marketing progression of repetition -> association -> trust, D&D is farthest along and is therefore most likely to be tried. I doubt most normals could even name a second RPG. Production values. Even the worst D&D publications have had high quality writing and graphic design throughout. Support. There is no shortage of modules, expansions, settings, and sourcebooks available for D&D. Low barrier to entry. D&D is easy to start playing. Here is your character sheet and a d20, which goblin do you hit? Having played 5e D&D, I can say that it is not, in fact, much simpler than Hero once you get into it. Reactions, actions, saves, spell slots, specials, armor class, paths, XP, it's dizzying. And 5e is simplified! But it's easy to start in a way that Hero's highly customizable character creation process is not. (Don't even get me started on Pathfinder. That s--t is unplayable.) Player base. Related to all of the above, D&D has the critical mass of users that makes it easier to find a good group to play with. RPGs are not a solo game, after all. Hero loses on every single point. I've argued this before, but my approach to popularizing Hero would go like this. (It's going to be expensive.) License Marvel comics characters. It's mind boggling to me that there is no Marvel superhero RPG that's giving D&D a run for its money. Take a property that is enjoying unbelievable popularity right now and pair it with the one game system that can handle it. Quality. We have to invest in copywriting, art, layout, and design. Publication standards in 2019 are just way ahead of any Hero publication in the past two decades. Hide the system. Hero is an RPG system and an RPG-system-creation-system, and the latter is what scares people. List powers as "Optic Blast Level 12", not "12d6 Energy Blast No Spread 0 END Not vs. Ruby (-1/4)". 95% of the time all you need to know is you roll 12d6 for damage. Simplify. I love the SPD chart, but save it for the "Advanced" game. Likewise with the other figured stats (but keep Stunning). Ditch most Advantages and Limitations. Don't publish Entangle with half a dozen specific advantages, publish three Spider-Man web powers: Entangle, TK, and ranged Blast. Make it into a board or card game. I wasn't kidding about simplification. Distill Hero into a board game or card game that any kid can pick up. Save the full power of the Hero system for "Advanced" expansions that are advertised at the end of the rulebook ("Pick up the Advanced game and make your own superhero!!") Support. Publish some modules FFS. Codevelop an online version of the simple and advanced games to make it easier to pick up players. I can play Catan online. Hero? Nope. Anyway that's my approach. I'm aware that it would require a level of resources that the Hero System has basically never enjoyed and that it's a pipe dream for this reason. Does anyone have any embellishments?
  48. 8 points
    They could get Bill Shatner to play it. He has experience.
  49. 8 points
  50. 8 points
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