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Everything posted by Orion

  1. The source material I own (all of it rather old) indicates that while MD is rare, it is out there. No official stance on it though. In my campaign world, it is pretty rare, only having been introduced a couple years previously. There is a lot of stuff that claims to be MD that is sold to the masses, but almost none of it works any better than tinfoil hats. Basically, the only stuff that actually works is a force field generator that has some MD qualities. I want mentalists to be powerful. But, there are very few mentalists, and most don't have the ability or power to do anything really noticeable. Those that do, unless going against another mentalist, don't even have to role the dice - it is automatic. Because of the way I handle mental powers, one of the first questions for a new campaign is: do you want mental powers to be involved at all? It can be the focus, a very rare thing, or completely ignored, whichever the players prefer. I actually recommend that they choose either lots, or none at all, because of the potential danger. All in all, I find mental powers much better in a book than in a game, and generally try to exclude them.
  2. I generally prefer to play in a fictional setting where the gods are real and manifest themselves on occasion at the Thieves World level, and magic is known, but uncommon and low powered. I would be willing to run or play in a straight historic campaign, but have never met anyone else that was interested. If I were running one, I'd probably choose lesser known periods in time, such as early Babylonian or Sumerian, the Sea peoples raiding Egypt, or northern Europe a little after the Roman Empire collapsed. I'd stay away from anything later than 1200 AD. Since I prefer very detailed settings, I am more likely to pick an existing one and further detail and/or modify small section of it, rather than create my own. If doing a historic setting, or one emulating a certain time period, I keep with the various social mores and rules of that time. I don't consider the PCs to be the special snowflakes or the exceptions to the rules, and expect them to have characters that would fit into the norm. Depending on the setting, the race. religion, or sex of the character may limit opportunities. I refuse to put 21st century sensibilities into a historic setting. To me, keeping to the historic norms is part of the interest in playing within it. If someone just absolutely has to have something that doesn't fit, these days I'd just run a different campaign in which it was okay.
  3. Re: A starship as a PC for Galactic Champions As a GM, I do the following: 1) The player gets a robot character. If he wants to be able to control multiple robots, he just needs to write all of them up. I'd recommend using multi-form if the other players obsess over character points, but otherwise it's just a stack of character sheets and a gentleman's agreement that only one can be active at a time. Not really much different from playing multiple characters in different locations. 2) No character sheet for the ship at all. I would not charge any points for it at all (bases and vehicles are free in my games). A general write-up for it so that all know the capabilities, but no more than that. Whenever the ship is in use, that player gets to control it and the rest of the players advise it and/or give it orders. Sure, the ship and robots are the same mind, but that's just SFX. In play, they'd be separate characters, or even more likely, a PC robot, and an NPC ship that a designated player handles for me.
  4. Re: What Fiction Book (other than Science Fiction or Fantasy) have you recently finis One for the Money by Janet Evanovitch. There was an okay movie based on the book last year. The wife loves the series and has almost all of them. I was looking for a quick, easy read while on a business trip, and took it. Not bad. A little more comedy than I'm used to in detective genre books, but it works. Just started the second book as my default bedtime read.
  5. Re: Using the Hero System Equipment Guide I always use the equipment guides as shopping lists, and if the players want anything not on it, they can ask me to help create it. I don't think they've ever needed to go off the list. I define common equipment as anything on the genre appropriate list, and allow any character to have anything on that list, assuming they either had the money to buy it, or could come up with a reasonable excuse for acquiring it in the past.
  6. Re: Who are The Ultimates? Here's the short wiki note on the Ultimates in my campaign writeup. I've had Binder wanting to head into space for years and years. I think I got that idea from some canon sources, as it isn't something I'd normally come up with. Criminal metahumans whose stated ambition is to rule the world. Most activities seem to be organized towards gathering equipment and money needed to rule, rather than grabbing power at this time. The leader, Binder, has a secret agenda of wanting to live on the Moon and control it as a space station or colony. The other members of the group do not know about this. All members of the group are known to the public, but it has not been revealed that they have joined forces.
  7. Re: Any ideas for a character leveling system based on experience points? Rather than basing it on EXP gained, base it on combat potential. For example, in my game UNTIL categorizes all known metahumans based on three criteria: power type, threat level, and power level. Power level 1 is a competent normal with a pistol, level 5 is medium metahuman, and level 10 is cosmic/godlike. This doesn't give much credit (bumps up 1 level) to people with lots of skills since it is damage-based, but works good for how the public see them. If characters in your game typically don't gain much power, but instead just get better at using the powers, then base it on the to-hit roll. You may want to have several different level systems in place - one for combat, one for movement, one for skills, etc. Gadgetman is L2 movement, L4combat, and L10 skill, while StrongGuy is L6 movement, L8 combat, and L1 skills.
  8. Re: The Good and Bad about Marvel and DC Are DC and Marvel just printing what the fans want, or are the fans buying it because it is the only thing available? I've got boxes of stuff that I bought because it was what Marvel was selling at the time, and I wanted the complete story, but didn't like the current storyline in the least.
  9. Re: What Have You Watched Recently? The Last Airbender. Saw it on tv last night, and somewhat surprisingly, the wife left it on that channel. Only saw the first two hours, however, as we decided to hit the sack rather than watching the second part. Glad we didn't pay for it, but may get the second part on Netflix just to finish the story. 2 stars. No idea how true it is to the original material, but it didn't impress me much. It has kids as the heroes, and they act like kids much of the time. This is good, as I don't expect kids to be experienced and wise, but bad, because I have zero interest in watching kids do just about anything. And some of the big plot points seemed blatantly obvious to me - it took the heroes time to figure it out, yet should have been obvious to anyone there. If the adults are really this clueless, maybe they deserve to be taken over by an enemy nation? Decent action, good sfx, beautiful countryside, but it just didn't grab me.
  10. Re: Fins and Ray-Guns Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers just about define the genre for me. Some of the early Heinlein juvenile stuff would fit the genre, although he never really concentrated on the tech side of things.
  11. Re: Your "2013" Pet Gaming Projects This year I fully expect to: 1. Contribute to the revision of several Harn products. 2. Write at least one major manuscript for submission as a future Harn product. 3. Finish my Battletech storyline and start writing some short fiction set in it. This year I hope to: 1. Significantly revise and expand my Nuem Campaign manuscript for Harn. 2. Do some significant work on my unnamed sword and planet campaign setting. 3. Finally create a world map for my Heart of the Demon fantasy setting. 4. I've got a history, power descriptions, etc. written down for superhuman characters that have never had defined stats or power levels. I'd like to change that.
  12. Re: Looking For Input On Potential New Fantasy Product Just found this discussion....I'm leaning towards strongly wanting a complete rule book, even if that means much of the book is a duplicate of something else. When the BBB came out I was happy because it gathered all the rules into one spot, and let me carry it all easily. With the rules having gotten so large now, I'd rather go back to genre books so that everything I need is under a single cover. And I'd much prefer that it be a rule book, and nothing more. Use spells and creatures as examples of the rules, but don't include large bestiary, spell list, and magic item sections - 10 of each is plenty. Show me how to make my own, rather than locking me into running a fantasy world the way the authors do it. And don't provide any setting at all. An intro scenario that has a basic map is plenty, but don't bother with a game world. The key here is everything that is needed, and a setting, complete with monsters, spells, and artifacts isn't needed. I'll either going to be doing one-shots where a setting is ignored, creating my own world, or using a highly detailed one already purchased. In my experience, those willing to use Hero love it because they can use it to build the game they want, and not be pigeonholed into a certain subset of the genre. The last thing I want is to find 50 pages of stuff that is only relevant for a type of setting in which I have no interest. Show me how to create spells, but don't provide a spells system - that's what the flavor books are for. It was mentioned earlier that some fantasy players refuse to use book they think is aimed at superhero games. I don't have that problem, but if I think the rules are aimed at dungeon crawls or high fantasy, I'll likely never take a look at it. Make this a "Fantasy, using hero" book, not "D&D, using Hero".
  13. Re: Best Complication / Disadvantage? Here's another fun set of disadvantages for a character idea I'm still developing. Greatest American Hero is one of the inspirations, and the character is supposed to be played for laughs. I could never play the character myself, but could see the appeal for others. After the inter-dimensional invasion was beaten off, Joe returned to his home and started to rebuild. In his yard he found a discarded suit of armor one of the invaders left behind. It's beat up, and obviously damaged, but still works. Rather than do the smart thing and turn it over to the government, Joe decided to use it and become a hero. The invaders were bipedal, so the suit mostly fits, but it has great difficulty reading his brain waves and translating that into commands. On a rare occasion nothing happens, sometimes the suit gets the command completely wrong, and regularly it gets the action right, but not the level of activity. When he first starts using the suit, issuing a new command gives a 5% chance of nothing happening, 10% chance of something completely different happening, 60% chance that the command is right but has the level wrong, and 25% of getting it right. Through time the odds get more in his favor, but he never has complete control. So, lets say he wants to fire the suit's energy cannon, and the suit actually does something. There's a small chance that a random multi-power slot not currently in use is activated instead. Maybe the searchlight is activated instead, or the force shield comes up. This can be done randomly, or an effect chosen for the laughs, or to complicate whatever is happening at the time. If the cannon does fire, there's a pretty good chance that instead of the 8d6 blast he wanted, he gets a blast of a different size - roll 2d6 for the number of dice actually in the attack. As he gets better with the suit, he can bump the number of dice in the attack by one or two towards what he wanted, but it will always be more likely that he doesn't get quite what he intended. Force walls, flash attacks, distance the rocket boosters cover in a leap - all have a range of effect that is often determined by a dice roll.
  14. Re: Best Complication / Disadvantage? Unknown at this time (to him and me). Most supers in this campaign get them when a "magic storm" finds them, so I'll probably use that. He's an NPC, not a PC, so it isn't quite as important.
  15. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it... On Basilisk Station - the first of the Honor Harrington books. I think this is the third time I've read it, possibly the fourth. I love the series, although I do like the earlier books better.
  16. Re: Interesting article about Sexism in Geek Communities
  17. Re: What Are You Listening To Right Now? The Cars Greatest Hits. Just got it this weekend, and am enjoying it a lot.
  18. Re: Best Complication / Disadvantage? Hung Jury can create up to 11 duplicates of himself. Most of the time, they are exact duplicates of the physical form, but his remaining powers must be split between the duplicates. About 10% of the time a new body is made that is not a duplicate. It may have a change in appearance (change in sex, race, or clothing), or may have very different powers (or even be powerless). If the powers are changed, the appearance is almost always changed as well. The original form has no control over creating these, and they are more likely than not to be unsuited for the current need. Any change to appearance or powers is lost when merging, unless both bodies are non–standard, in which case the new form is a melding of the two. The name comes from the fact that if he creates 11 duplicates, there is a high chance at least one will be different from the rest. Basically, I just use a % roll to see what happens. 1-90 = an exact duplicate, 91-95 = minor changes, 96-100 = major change. The higher the number, the bigger the change. There is a list of suggestions, but really it is just an excuse for the GM to screw with the character. Its assumed that no change will be obviously beneficial, and that humor will often determine just what happens.
  19. Re: Random elements in Character Construction Some people like randomness, because it helps stimulate their creativity, but my creativity just doesn't work that way. I don't create characters very fast, or often, and the process usually takes a long time to get to the final product. I have found over time that I am incapable of role-playing a character that I didn't design from the ground up. Random generation in anathema to me. Random means I didn't create it, and I just as well have the GM hand me a character sheet when I show up. I've done this a few time to help a friend out for their game, and it's the standard for con games. When it does happen, I'm basically just roll-playing - tactics and game rules are the concern, not character development and personality. .
  20. Re: How do GMs out there handle late arrivals It past groups where I was a player, new players and characters were always brought in at the same level as current players. While we got XP each session, gaining power was never the reason to play, and there was never a feeling that newcomers have to earn their power. Zero to hero was not something we ever did. The new character was supposed to have been adventuring in another city all along and thus got XP there, or was a new hero that just happened to start on a higher level. Either way, we didn't really care. Thinking back on it, I'm not sure I ever knew what any other character actually cost in points. I assumed they were all about the same point value, but combat effectiveness was all I cared about then. They could have 1000 points in various skills, but as long as their damage output wasn't higher than mine, I didn't care. I got over this though, and now care more about a good backstory and how they interact with the group than the effectiveness. As a GM, I personally don't care whether the characters are equal points or not. I'd even be willing to allow the new character to be at a much higher level than the current characters, if all the players agreed. This is something that is decided in the campaign setup before the game starts. If it matters to the players, I just go with whatever makes them the happiest in regards to power levels.
  21. Re: Your game/setting/campaign's feel Mine started out being late 1980s Marvel in feel, but has had a lot added on since then. Take a standard superhero world, but with most heroes thinking of themselves as police or military, instead of role models. There is no comic code restrictions - killing isn't encouraged, but is allowed, and some villains will try to kill the heroes. It's now as much people with powers as it is superpowers with costumes and code names, so the tv show Heroes and the comic Powers have had an influence. At some point I wanted to add in the possibility of monsters and magic. I decided that Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Charmed in my world were loosely based on actual events, as they were the feel that I wanted. I also added in aliens, and stole liberally from Stargate, Alien Legion, and Battletech. I wanted a more realistic look at the world than you typically get in a comic, and so asked what would happen if there were large numbers of supervillains and evil organizations running around, many with the stated intent of ruling part or all of the US. That led to a less fun world (superpowered terrorism, fewer personal rights, large corporations running government), but since I don't want a GrimDarkUnhappy campaign, the heroes have a chance to turn things around if they wish. I don't use characters from any comic or show. All heroes but one are my creations, and the exception was another player's main character in our college game. Most villains are from old (version 1-3) Champions supplements, although some have been tweaked in either origin or power. I also have a good number of my own creation.
  22. Re: The Good and Bad about Marvel and DC I like Frank Cho enough that I don't care that faces look alike. Seems like most artists can only drawn one or two bodies, so why not just a couple faces? Hal;f the reason for the uniforms is so they are easily identified anyway.
  23. Re: CU Hero-vs.-Hero Scenarios 1. Love triangle. They both want the same person, who may or may not love either of them. The discussion gets out of hand and tempers fly. 2. The Ex. They used to be lovers, but the relationship didn't end well for one or both. They are sane individuals when separate, but lose it whenever they are together. 3. Different methods. They see the job of being a superhero very differently, and there is no middle ground. One thinks they have to be a role model, and never do anything that would upset soccer moms and small children. The other sees themselves as a soldier at war, and has no care what the public thinks. The soldier gets tired of the role model telling him how things should be done and/or interfering in his work. 4. Law vs justice. One always follows the law, and would even defend known criminals while they acted in a legal manner. The other only cares about justice, and may even be willing to break the law in small ways to get it. 5. Heel turn. One of the heroes gets kicked out of the hero group, or a solo hero catches grief from the big group in town. After several very public confrontations and fights, the former hero denounces the rest and turns villain. Shortly after, he joins a villain group, but eventually betrays them to the heroes. At a press conference it is revealed that this was planned all along, but not everyone believes it.
  24. Re: Magical Skills. My unfinished system has a magic skill that every caster must have to be able to use spells at all. Most people cannot use spells, so having this is rare. They don't have to have magical ability at the start, but should get the skill at character creation if they plan to do spells in the future. I could probably be talked into allowing an established character to get the skill, but it would take a pretty good storyline to allow it, as this would be a major departure from the original character concept. Some magic items also require this skill to use, but many do not. Depending on the type of magic learned, there may be heavy penalties to the roll to using a different type of magic. So if a fire mage may have a -5 to all water-related spells, and a -3 to all demon summoning spells. These penalties can be bought off in time. I may end up changing this to a separate roll for every school of magic, but it would be rare to have a character with more than 2 schools. When a spell is cast, the caster chooses what advantages and limitations to take on the base skill. Gestures and incantations would give a bonus to the skill roll, while trying to do it in half the time would have a penalty. Most spells are learned with a large number of attached limitations, but no advantages, just to make it easier to learn and use. These wouldn't change the power of the spell, just the ease of success. The actual power level of the spell can change within limits at will, which also modifies the skill roll. When they first learn a spell, they only know one way to do it, and changing it is very difficult. With experience in the spell, as well as overall experience and power, it becomes easier to change. To model this, each spell has a set modifier to the magic skill. Beginners probably have a negative modifier with the skill, and can't afford to have many penalties, so don't modify them. An expert is so good at the base spells (i.e., has a skill bonus with it), so can ignore some of the limitations and still be confident of it working. Most spells tend to take time (turns, minutes, even hours) to complete. If a magic roll is failed, they can sometimes (depends on the spell) get a second roll if they drop some advad or take some limits, and extend the casting time by 50%. However, just trying to extend the casting is difficult, and brings a penalty to the roll, so it often does not help. This allows the choice when trying again later is not an option, such as the eclipse is almost over, no more of the rare incense is available, or the enemy has almost escaped. I do not use the skill roll to determine the level of effect (no marginal successes, critical failures, etc), but only for whether the spell works or not. This would be easy to implement if it were based on how much the roll was made or missed.
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