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Steve

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  1. Like
    Steve reacted to Asperion in How powerful are your agents?   
    I've done this several times. It has been fun watching the PCs look at this mook that not long ago they took out with one casual blow now not only can take that blow but can return it and dish out a rather impressive blow in return. 
  2. Haha
    Steve reacted to Christopher R Taylor in How powerful are your agents?   
    That is one of the Agent Tricks that has been recommended by Choosy Hero GMs since the old email list.  If an agent does really well, or is really interesting and memorable, have them come back.  Possibly powered up (wearing special gear, etc).
     
    Example: In my Golden Age Champions campaign there were generic tough guy mooks that could be hired.  They all had basically the same stats and powers with very few variations: Big, strong, tough.  One mook in particular was memorable and became part of the campaign.  The first fight they ran into him he rolled an 18 on an attack and tripped, crashing through a wall.  The second time he squared off with the wrestler tough guy in the group with lots of boasts and trash talking and got beat to a paste.  The third time he got stomped on by King Kong.  Then he showed up knocking on the door of the superhero base, asking if maybe he could work for them as a guard or something because clearly crime was not paying.
  3. Like
    Steve reacted to Duke Bushido in How powerful are your agents?   
    Yes.
     
    All of villains-- to include agents and henchmen-- get experience.  Not always as quickly as the heroes, since the heroes are-- well, they are in every situation, whereas the villains sort of rotate in and out....
     
    I always thought that this was the norm in the source material-- heroes with whacky goofy villains back in the sixties and seventies who are now facing world-shaking foes, and don't give two rips about Calendar Man anymore....
     
     
     
  4. Like
    Steve reacted to assault in How powerful are your agents?   
    I dislike agents that make the PCs feel less super.

    I dislike agents that require the PCs to be built on inflated points to be viable.
     
    I accept that a few "agents" are actually low-powered superbeings, through equipment, training or both. Most shouldn't be.
  5. Like
    Steve reacted to Greywind in How powerful are your agents?   
    Well, sometimes about...


     
    ...and sometimes about...


  6. Like
    Steve reacted to Christopher R Taylor in How powerful are your agents?   
    I want my agents to act like classic comics where you can have a pile of Hydra agents on top of Captain America and he throws them off with a massive effort, wiping the floor with them all.  I want them to be a realistic threat to normals but not dangerous to superheroes.  I want them to make my heroes look badass.  Look, if every single battle is a huge effort, nobody feels powerful and nothing ever seems like a major threat.  Realistically, Cap in that elevator in CA 2 should have only taken that long and had that much trouble because he was trying not to kill them or do serious permanent harm.
  7. Like
    Steve reacted to Sketchpad in How powerful are your agents?   
    It varies with the agents in my campaign. Some are pushovers that need numbers, others are credible threats. I kind of take a video game mentality in some aspects, with Lieutenants and Commanders, or specialized troops, being more capable than standard agents. 
  8. Like
    Steve reacted to Hugh Neilson in Medieval Stasis   
    A peaceful land can also have less peaceful threats lurking in the darkness.
     
    With threats lurking around every corner, how does that L2 commoner farmer and wife, and their L1 kids, survive?
     
    Many great campaigns see the adventurers dealing with the threats lurking in the shadows, and preventing them bursting forth, and laying waste to the stable, ancient land and its denizens lacking much ability to defend themselves.
  9. Like
    Steve reacted to Spence in Medieval Stasis   
    I don't think I was meaning that line of thought, though I was probably unclear.
     
    The PC's are not unlearned or incompetent, but they also do not have google and an full awareness of what the world holds.  
    With over developed setting the players will know the worlds details.  While a good roleplayer can try to ensure that their PC's only act on what the PC would know, there is a vast difference between a player knowing details and playing like they don't and the player actually not knowing and being genuinely surprised. 
     
    Players portraying a competent party that gets to discover the truth behind the legend is a lot more fun than players who know what is going on pretending that their PC's do not know.
     
    It is less "dumbstruck villagers looking at the ruins of aqueducts, and thinking it’s the products of giants"  and more of "the villagers avoiding the dark forest because of the legendary Beast and the tendency of anyone disappearing and the Heroic PC's venturing into the unknown to end the threat". 
     
    A setting book should tell me there is a Legendary Beast and give suggestions on what the beast could possibly be, but leave it to the GM to actually decide what the Beast is.   Making every iteration of the campaigns in the setting different.   This is different from an Adventure Module taking place in in the setting about the Legendary Best in the Dark Forest, and adventure should be completely fleshed out and contain needed everything except the core rules.
     
    By definition Adventurers are exceptional and far more competent than the mundane "normal folks".   But that doesn't mean Adventurers have access to a magic google and Wikipedia 
  10. Like
    Steve reacted to Scott Ruggels in Medieval Stasis   
    Oh, I think I am the wild card or odd man out. First, I don’t like the medieval stasis, and I do allow my players, and some important NPC‘s, to move the needle forward, if there is an idea good enough for other people to recognize it and use it. Second, I tend to bounce periods around, depending on the campaign. The one that I am running right now, as a small, online campaign, features a number of non humans, in a human dominated world. That campaign is low to no magic, and is at a time where small, would be empires are rubbing up against large, established ones. I stole a lot of the flavor of the large empire, from late Rome - Byzantium, with a smattering of pre-Islamic Persia. 
     
    The second campaign, is a relaunch of my 1980s -1990s, Fantasy hero campaign, but after 20 years , I look at it now, and realize it never really was Medeival, but was more early renaissance, with the growing of nation states and the conflicts there in. Unlike the other campaign, it is a high magic, and often highly bureaucratic, background. Unlike the first campaign above, in this campaign players have the ability to be movers and shakers, leaving long-term political effects in their wake. This was the campaign, that had the rules for parliamentary elections and parliamentary votes.The campaign, also had the first appearances of early gunpowder weapons.As soon as I can find all of my old notes, I will be putting this together in tabletop simulator.
     
    In all cases, most of my campaigns, are travelogue. The people, who do not travel outside of their 20 mile radius, are the folks that do not matter much in the grand scheme of things, therefore, it is the traveling adventurers that leave their marks on history. So, I guess this means that, that classic, dark ages, campaign, isn’t that much of a template for the stuff I’m doing, because I prefer a bit more than dumbstruck villagers looking at the ruins of aqueducts, and thinking it’s the products of giants. As a GM, I prefer the company of learned, competent, adventurers. 
     
     
     
     
  11. Like
    Steve reacted to Duke Bushido in Medieval Stasis   
    This was actually one of the things I loved most about the old Shadow World stuff: each module had the info you needed for the area in which you were playing, period.  If you bought a new module, you learned about a new area, but you didn't actually have to set the adventure there.  The "planet full of large islands" approach has, to this day, been my favorite approach to Fantasy worlds.  Granted, I might not do islands specifically (though I have, because I like the impression of separation and isolation the ship travel imparts to the Players), I tend to stay with isolate cultures with some knowledge of their nearest neighbors, very limited trade, and not a lot of other interaction.  It just makes more sense for non-technological ages and agrarian cultures, as well as large cities (and by extension, continent-conquering kings) pretty rare.  It takes the burden off of me in that I don't have to build an entire planet that the party just isn't going to see anyway.  It also allows me to fill in the world as we go in a manner that works with the story at hand: should the party need a healer to raise a comrade, there can be one two days ride from here if there needs to be.  If the party needs a city, or if some pursuers need a logical source of intelligence, that can be arranged much more easily than buying someone else's book and learning "this city is only accessible by magic means, and is in the dead center of a thousand square miles of desert," or, as it could be paraphrased, "I am sorry, Lewis; you're going to have to make a new character."
     
     
     
    I have found this to be true of setting books myself, both for my players and for me.
     
     
    My rule of thumb is "if you aren't willing to spend a couple of evenings sketching up the maps, the setting is too big to use."  Maybe you can work it in later, or borrow from it as your own world grows, but yeah-- no one is going to soak it all up thoroughly enough and in enough time to get playing while excitement is high. I have, in the past, tried to make the argument in favor of over-detailed world books that they give you the option of a number of starting places and you can pick the one you like and work outward from there, but the reality is, at least the last twenty-odd years, the authors go to great lengths to link everything together in such a way that you and the Players are going to have know about that, too, if you actually want to play in that setting with even the slightest accuracy.
     
    Don't get me wrong!  Campaign books are a labor of love, and I _get_ it!  I have had a few campaigns that I would _love_ to sit down and write up the entire world, in minutiae, and share it with the world, but I also understand that the bulk of this information is, well- more or less useless to someone wanting to use that setting, because it locks out most of the things they would like to decide for themselves, or locks them into things that may bite them in the rear later on.  And of course, a super-detailed history can be renamed as "all this amazing stuff that the PCs had absolutely nothing to do with, and a lot of it is more amazing than anything they are ever going to be able to do away, so give up now."  Players want their characters to have an impact on their world.  Some players want their characters to have a large impact on their world.  Too much detail just makes this goal harder to achieve. 
     
     
     
    And, if I remember correctly, spread randomly though dungeons, stuffed into the pockets of orcs, griffins, and owlbears.  Keeps them safe, I suppose. 
     
     
     
     
  12. Like
    Steve reacted to Spence in Medieval Stasis   
    One of the issues I have with many of the setting out there is they have far too much detail.  Far far far far far too much.
     
    Right up to the 1900's, arguably up to the 1950's the vast proportion of people on earth were born, lived their lives and died within 20 miles.   The industrial age and the major wars (WW1 & WW2) were really the only thing that lead to massive numbers moving any great distance.  And they basically stopped after returning home until the modern era 1980's+.  Even now we have the largest number of population traveling world wide and still to this day the majority stay withing a 100 miles of home.  100 Miles because modern transportation allows travel of 100+ in a single day, but even with that I still meet people all the time in the US that have never flown or left their state.  I am pretty sure that with a small variance other countries are relatively similar.   I may have personally traveled all over the world, but that was because I spent my entire adult life in or around the Navy.   The extent of most of my high school class's travels have been from my home town to a larger city and then either back or putting down roots at that city or another small town and then staying within 100 from there.
     
    Why do I say this?
     
    Because the issue I find with fantasy setting is that they are written from a global view with billions of high tech satellites recording everything for the last 50 trillion years or so instead of what they should.  Cover a single area that can be covered by a horseman in a few weeks surrounded by an empty map labeled "here be dragons".   Did the ancient/old world have large urban cities?  Yes.  But they were the exception rather than the rule.  There were far more smaller cities and towns than metropolises.  Even New York City, London and other modern cities were far smaller than they are now in 1800's.  The were certainly amazing the people of the times in comparison to what was the norm at that time.  But still much smaller.  
     
    My point is that the need by game companies to write massive entire world guides is why they don't get played.  One of the few things I thought WotC did right with D&D5th when they launched was reduce the "official" world to the Sword Coast.  And then slowly add bits in completely stand alone guides that could be used or ignored with the majority expanding on the Realms.  The non-Realm settings are covered in single digestible 250ish page books.   In other words they are accessible to new players and DM's.  Accessible in a time frame of hours.   Not months.
     
    The initial book for a setting should be targeted at a single area and narrow the PC options down to at most a dozen occupations for a handful as in 4 or 5 "races" in a single culture.  If options are in the book the players will NOT PLAY until they have read all the options and then calculated the best PC build.  Narosia and Runequest are examples of game that actively bar and discourage new players.  There are so many races cultures and options that after owning both for years, decades for Runequest, I have not run either recently.  I played Runequest in the 80's but simply do not have the time to absorb what it has become.  For Narosia I still have not had the time to complete a good read, and I have not been able to get any players to even try.   
     
    If the options exist, players will not play unless they can understand enough to understand those options.  
    If the players cannot have a general understanding with the first evenings read, they move on. 
     
    The same for a setting.  If the setting is too wide with too much info it will see less use.  Take a step back and really look.  D&D 5th has all kinds of settings if you include third party, but the only ones people are really playing are the thin books like sword coast.  The tomes like Midgard are not.  The thin books are limited in the area, player options and timeline they can cover.  The tomes are huge and simply have too much information for initial games. 
     
    Start small in a single geographical area that the PC's can adventure in and that the GM can digest in a few days.  Then add supplements to expand if people get excited.  
     
    Fantasy Medieval society.  Most are illiterate.  Most books and scrolls that contain lore are in carefully horded "libraries" with most being simply the writings of someone of which most are only copies.  And at most they have only been read by a fractional minority of the population.   Bree was just a days journey from Hobbiton and yet the two considered each other odd and weird, places to take care if you visit.  Anywhere more than a few days was thought of almost as fables and tall tales. 
     
    Narrow the focus, anything known from lands 50 miles away would be highly embellished.  Further out would be legends and tales.  History would be from tales told by the grandmother and grandfathers sitting around the hearth in the evenings that they learned from their grands.  Tales that have probably become unrecognizable after 20 years. 
     
    I have no Medieval Stasis issues because the topic really never comes up to the players or most games beyond "it's an ancient artifact from the blah blahs."  Who were the blah blahs?  No one really knows, they vanished from world countless years ago and now are only remembered in tales and legends. 
     
    If I buy a setting book with too much info I usually do not actually use it.  I move on the things that allow me to actually run a game.
  13. Like
    Steve reacted to Duke Bushido in Medieval Stasis   
    Odd man out here (again.  Go figure).
     
    I rather _like_ "medieval" stasis (where Medieval = whatever setting the game is in).  It's something I view as one of the unique markers of the genre.  Honestly, I find it to be one of the very few things that actual justify the existence of magic.  We have a problem; we work for a solution; a new technology is born; we use it to change the world.   With magic in the mix, it's easier to justify "we have a magical coping mechanism, so there's no real reason to change things."
     
    I don't know how else to explain the idea of "a generally unchanging or very slow to change world" is an important part of creating that fantastic feeling, at least to me (and that may be one of the reasons I don't care much for Turakian Age-- don't get me wrong: I _appreciate_ it; it's just not at all my thing).
     
    I have history-- at least, in some campaigns; in others, the history of the prior ages has been lost for whatever reason-- and that history contains changes and upheavals and shifts, etc, but generally-- not always, but _generally_, the current age is on the end of "a thousand years of peace" or some other very, very long length of time.  Generally, the campaigns are set at the beginning of oncoming change, and if possible, the PCs are ultimately going to be a part of enabling, creating, or preventing it (because I'm not stupid: peace makes for poor adventuring).  That change may be huge (as in: history will close this Age and declare a new one) or even relatively small, from a time-immemorial point of view (as in "the decadence of the nobles has become so great that the peasants are talking about revolt" or "the lands of Hyuster have gone barren and their armies have begun to march on their neighbors in search of new lands" kinds of things).
     
    Like Hugh, I have noticed that "the presence of humans moves the needle considerably," in as much as the time between great advancements grows shorter and shorter with each new advancement (fantastic for Cyberpunk; sucks for Fantasy).  Accordingly, I also tend to reduce the size of the human population, or find other ways to reduce and slow their impact on the world (remote kingdom on a far-away continent, etc, etc).  Not always, mind you, but quite frequently.  And of course, there are a few campaigns where I have removed humans altogether (you guys sit this one out. Go over there with the elves.  No; you're not the same-- you will be back in some future campaign; they won't.)
     
    The idea is that the non-human races, for whatever reason, have less overall interest in making huge strides in technological advancement or in having a global empire or are generally more concerned about their impact on the health of the world overall, etc.  No; there is no way to prove that this would be the case, but for all the same reasons, there is no reason to prove that they _wouldn't_ be like that, either.   I do _not_ want this to sound remotely political, but in thought experiments over the years, simply removing large-scale capitalism does wonders for keeping this relatively homeostatic.  Create races that have various cultural, spiritual, or religious reasons to not want large-scale capitalism or wealth beyond "a certain level of security," and you can drop lots and lots of the impetus to pave the world or burn foreign lands.  Not all of it, mind you, but enough that what's left can be kept in check with minor interesting points in history that still allow for that four-thousand years of the same borders" thing.
     
     
  14. Like
    Steve reacted to Hugh Neilson in Medieval Stasis   
    The diagram that shows we humans are closer in time to a T Rex than a Stegosauraus is shows that things can be fairly static for a long time, but also that humans move the needle a lot.
     
    My view comes back to the game.  Is it good for the game to have a stable history?  Would tossing in a major change a few years back make for a better game?  Perhaps continued stability would be better, or maybe major changes starting when the campaign starts would be better.  Or we could have a world constantly in flux.  We can make up any excuses we want for any level of stability.  "The Gods so will it" - something we don't have to contend with in our mundane world.  We don't have magic - maybe technology just doesn't work in the game world (recalling sweet, cynical Cynosure where magic works in some places and tech in others, but a good sword is pretty much universal).
     
    If you have a 1,000 year world history that includes the same level of change reflected from, say, 800 AD to 1800 AD in our world, is it useful to the game?  Are the players so invested in the game world that they will study the minutia of that 1,000 years of history, or are they interested in the current setting, and what it means for them, and don't really care whether the current ruling family came to power 80 years back, or 8,000 years back?  In a fantasy game with magic spells, mighty dragons and bizarre denizens of an underground world which is perhaps even more diverse that the surface world, how important is a "realistic" world history?  Would you place as much energy in making the tax code, or societal views to drugs and alcohol, "realistic and evolving"?
     
    Perhaps that 10,000 years of stagnation really does ring hollow for your gaming group.  Maybe that becomes a focal point of the game - what has caused it, what can the player characters do about it, and do they even want to do anything about it?
  15. Like
    Steve reacted to Lord Liaden in Medieval Stasis   
    As I've mentioned elsewhere, Hero's own Turakian Age setting has become my go-to for fantasy games. It contains a lot of breadth and diversity, including a detailed five-thousand-year time line. Over that period there have been major events that have changed the appearance of the world, e.g. the raising of Kal-Turak's Wall, the creation of the vast desert of the Hargeshite Devastation, and a number of once-great cities which have fallen into ruin. However, I sometimes feel that it has issues similar to what you describe, in which certain conditions, realms, dynasties etc. have persisted an unrealistically long time. In other instances I don't always see the logical through-line as to how certain ethnic populations have come to live where they do, or have societies and customs as described.
     
    I've done a great deal of tinkering with that time line, changing the dates at which certain events occurred, either forward or backward depending on what seems more logical; making some political entities last either longer or shorter than how they're officially described, even moving a few of them from their official locations to some place I think they fit better; adding details in places and times when and where nothing major appeared to have happened for a long time, particularly if that would help explain why those places have their "present" form. If there's a feature of history, geography or geopolitics which doesn't make sense to me why it would always have been that way, I'll insert some past explanation for how it got to that state.
     
    All that being said, I do think there are a couple of factors worth remembering. For one, there are some places in the modern world, like the city of Jerusalem, which have been continuously inhabited since before recorded history, so that's hardly an impossible phenomenon. Many of today's great cities were founded over two millennia back, and elements of those early days are still visible. For another, in a world which includes powerful magic which can cause major changes to the environment, it's probable that those changes can persist far longer than they would be expected to in a more realistic world.
  16. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Duke Bushido in How much of an data dump do you need?   
    Ability ranges are always good, especially if there are caps on anything.
  17. Like
    Steve reacted to Drhoz in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...   
    Champions - Return To Edge City : Squid-jigging
    On why most of Earth’s polities have abandoned super-soldier programs and are going with external augments or recruiting natural talents instead.

    Hero Shrew: External augmentation technology is also a lot easier to shut down remotely, if your supersoldier goes rogue.

    Hero Shrew: They just have to look at the personal history of half the world’s superheroes - sorry, supervillains - and say ‘well, we’re not doing that again’.
    GM: Half the superheroes too - you were right the first time.

    Of course now we’ve got an alien super-soldier with unknown augments running around on Earth. At least the tentacles should make him pretty conspicuous. We have no idea what it intends to do here - could it use Earth technology to open a concordance to the Sirian fleet?

    Fireflash: Probably not - anybody who has that kind of technology can probably deal with the problem themselves.

    The Sirian presumably doesn’t have any contacts on Earth - but Earth does have a very broad information network, easily accessed.

    GM: You can probably program your Crime Computer to look for any unusual internet activity.
    Fireflash: I’m resisting the urge to say ‘To the Bat-Computer!’
    GM: Why? Adam West is awesome.

    The alien salvage crew are a little shocked that Earth isn’t as primitive as they were told - Magus and Flux’s magical knowledge is pretty advanced, in arcanotech terms. It’s possible they can use the Sirian’s life-support tech, still in the cargo hold of the alien’s ship, to track the Sirian.

    Magus: Tracking down an alien using its iron womb is more your sort of thing.
    Flux: *rolls a fantastic success*
    GM: Oh f*** off, the Sirian hasn’t had time to do anything yet!

    It’s under the bonded warehouse holding the Sirian tech we handed over to the ECPD a while back.

    Magus: Sorry, gotta run, we had better deal with this now.
    Alien Captain: What?
    Magus: We found the Sirian, it’s already found Sirian tech.
    Alien Captain: WHAT????

    They do want us to take the Moreau-looking crewmember with us - he’d attract the least attention in Edge City.

    GM: When he finds out that there’s a whole organisation that has better tech than his, he’s going to cry a little - Earth is supposed to be a backwater.

    Happily, the Sirian hasn’t had time to finish the warsuit it was making, and between the alien’s grenades and Magus’ stun attacks it doesn’t even get to self destruct.

    Hero Shrew: So who wants to tell UNTIL that we caught a Sirian super-soldier? Alive?
    The Magus: We can tell that UNTIL agent back at the ship.
    Flux: We only told them an hour ago that one was on the loose - they were just getting warmed up, and we go ‘Found it’

    Of course the alien crew now need to get their ship repaired, without giving away so much about interstellar flight and dark matter accumulators that they’d get thrown straight into jail when they get home. Or bankrupted by the rescue fees.

    Flux: Hey, UNTIL guy, do you have a standard procedure for this?
    UNTIL Rep: No? Usually they only stay a few hours and leave, or blow up their ship and forcibly emigrate. Or get dropped off here.

    The Magus has been doing some arcane calculations - he can theoretically use extra-dimensional travel to take one of the aliens on an interstellar shopping trip. Aiming is the tricky thing. The captain is a bit sarcastic about that, but they have a point - missing your target planet by a light year is A Problem.

    GM: It amuses me that one of you has forgotten a completely broken power on your character sheet.
    Flux: Hmm?
    GM: The keyword is ‘broken’.
    Flux: OK, fine, I’ll do it *starts casting Repair*
    Alien: What? How? *string of what we are now pretty sure are alien profanities* Under what paradigm is that even POSSIBLE??
    Hero Shrew: He’s restoring a platonic ideal.
    GM: He’s reinforcing a platonic ideal, and - oh f*** he’s doing it holistically.

    GM: They let Flux have a look at their Dark Matter Accumulator so he can fix it. It looks like a cross between a Philosopher's Stone and a fairyfloss machine.
    The Magus: Given Flux’s alchemical abilities he could probably make one.
    Flux: Um.
    GM: Remember how I said that there are certain people that get upset every time Flux does alchemy?
    Flux: Oh dear.

    At least the salvage crew can make some money from the Sirian computers we hacked.
  18. Like
    Steve reacted to Drhoz in Quote of the Week from my gaming group...   
    Pathfinder - Hell's Bright Shadow : No-one But You (Only The Good Die Young)
    Good News - there was indeed a Silver Raven secret hideout under the old livery.
    Bad News - the hideout was quite thoroughly compromised and defiled.

    It’s entirely likely that Terzo and the girls are the only people in Kintargo in any position to get an organised resistance off the ground, which is not a job with good prospects for long-term employment. We make contact with Raxus’ contact, the halfling Laria, and not too long after that are situated in some tunnels and a forgotten shrine to Calistria that had been used for some light smuggling and as a part of the Bellflower Network, an underground railway for halfling slaves. The temple is certainly convenient for Rajira, especially since the worship of her god has been banned by the Chelish Fun Police.

    Between Civilla’s Ears of the City spell and Terzo’s avuncular diplomacy, we also managed to make peaceful contact with some Tengu who were down here with their adopted Dire Corby sister, who is having aggression management issues and is currently being detained in the hopes that we can help her learn to control herself. It might be a tall order, since Dire Corbies are best described as 'psychotic', 'cannibalistic', and ‘lacking any instincts of self-preservation'.

    Terzo OoC: Not entirely negative attributes if they're directed at the appropriate target - Thrune's agents, for example, and not the nearest kindergarten

    There are also other things down there.

    Terzo OoC: So, Kintargo has two things in common with Judge Dredd’s Mega-City One - firmly under the thumb of a brutal authoritarian state, and giant albino alligators in the sewers.

    Civilla suspects that the Tengu sisters are going to be our rebellion's first team, and we're going to need a good number of teams. Quite a large part of the Hell's Bright Shadow campaign is bookkeeping about rebellion cells, officers, caches, and rebellion funds. We also have to decide exactly which angle of attack to use, since open combat in the streets is hardly going to work, and encouraging a popular uprising openly would paint a great big target on our backs.

    Ayva: There is a small part of my brain jumping up and down wanting a printing press so we can print our own broadsheet to influence the people of the city.
    Civilla: Remember the Fair Fortune Livery? I'm wondering if we can re-purpose the upper area into a workshop and the lower section into a lair for us.
    Ayva: I do not envy whoever has to clean it out first
    Terzo: The print shop would be a bit of an obvious target for Thrune's inquisitors, though.
    Civilla: The print shop would be in the underground section.
    Terzo: Ah, ok, of course. My knowledge of underground resistance movements is alas pretty minimal.
    Ayva: If it was a wine cellar Terzo would know it intimately.

    Which reminds me, must find out if Civilla's family herb garden has any wild basil - also known as dog mint. "Basil sent me" could be a useful code phrase.

    Terzo’s player: I wonder if the White Rose Network is why the goddess of resistance, Milani, has all those rose associations
    Rajira’s player: That and probably the nature of wild roses. Beautiful, but very pokey and very hard to get rid of.
    Terzo’s player: I also wonder if we could get Thrune's agents to waste their time chasing an imaginary resistance leader. Call him Adam Selene.

    There’s quite a few things we can do with the former livery - turning it into a workshop to earn some coin for the rebellion, for example (assuming we can thoroughly hide the secret lair again and pretend we never knew about it, whilst still having our own means of access).

    Ayva: Was not expecting The Artisans Workshop for Painting but it's appreciated. Means I can do at least 3 types of earnings that way.
    Terzo: People are going to need a lot of portraits of Queen Abrogail II too now - it’s a legal requirement in all business under Thrune’s new laws.
    Ayva: .....I honestly did not think of that *headdesk*
    Terzo: So I hope you don't mind painting hundreds of pictures of the same heinous bitch.
    Ayva: If I get bored I'll just paint her bare arse on the opposite side of the canvas before backing and framing.

    As a Bard-Provocateur Terzo certainly has plenty of options for undermining the government - popular slander is a class feat.

    GM: Why do I just know that the words "Dogf***er Thrune" are gonna be bandied about across the city?
    Rajira OoC: Because it was inevitable?
    Terzo OoC: Graffiti such as ‘Thrune F***s Dogs? Knot Likely’

    We also recruit a group of ‘seamstresses’ to generate another income stream for the Rebellion. Civilla observes that between the party members, the Tengu sisters, and the ‘seamstresses’, the Rebellion is becoming something of a clam bake. And then has to explain the term to Terzo - it’s the opposite of a sausage fest.

    Terzo: Ah, I see - I was insufficiently filthy-minded.

    Terzo Offers His Teeth To The Cause!

    Ayva: Terzo?
    Terzo: Yes, m’dear?
    Ayva: We’re going to be using you as bait.

    Whilst there are a lot of things we could be doing right now, it’s a number of pretty horrible murders around the tiefling ghetto that get us involved. Surprisingly, it’s not somebody taking advantage of Thrune’s takeover to practise some genocide, and is instead the predations of a pack of tooth fairies.

    Rajira; You’re the obvious target.
    Terzo: Because I smile so much?
    Rajira; Well, partially.

    Nothing comes after Terzo the first night.

    Terzo: Perhaps I need to smell more of peppermint.
    Civilla: Please don’t - Thrune’s Proclamation the Seventh ‘The odour and flavour of mint is an abomination to the refined palate. Be not the cretin! Mint use in candies, drinks and all manners of confections are hereby proscribed’.
    Rajira; A man with no taste.
    Civilla: I’d be tempted to make the same proclamation about vanilla.

    Terzo is yawning widely late on the second night’s fairy-baiting, when he hears chittering from an adjacent alleyway.

    Terzo: *jaws snapping shut* …. Hello?

    The rest of the party are following well back, or leaping from rooftop to rooftop.

    Terzo OoC: I’m going to regret lighting a match to see what’s down there, aren’t I?
    Civilla OoC: Dude, do you have any idea how expensive matches are?
    Terzo OoC: Well, at least in that case I WON’T see the wall of tooth fairies about to descend on me.

    Terzo OoC: Well, I certainly hope the others are close-by, but I don’t want to do anything obvious like look back over my shoulder. ‘Is there anybody there?’
    Civilla OoC: A question - what will you do if somebody replies ‘No’?

    Civilla OoC: I don’t mean to be rude but in-character the logic of the question just irks me - I’m a very logical character. A woman who has Views on the idea of Love.

    Terzo takes a few nervous steps into the alleyway, sees a large number of small flitting shadows, and backpedals rapidly.

    Civilla: I seem to have underestimated how many tooth fairies were involved. I should have known better, knowing they were overpowering full-sized humanoids.

    Civilla probably should have prepared a Dancing Lights spell too - since we’ll be fighting in the dark.

    GM: You have a target-rich environment.

    Unfortunately the tooth-fairies also have a large target - specifically, Terzo.

    Terzo: Who supplies these little b*****ds with their pliers is what I want to know.

    Terzo continues to backpedal, and Inspires Courage in the others with a few verses of ‘Feed Them Their F***ing Teeth’. Although it’s a bit slurred because Terzo’s jaw is half-off. Those pliers are lethal. Fortunately the rest of the party pile in before the fairies can get away with the entire mandible. The surviving fairies attempt to flee, but Civilla glues one to a wall with Adhesive Spittle.

    Ayva OoC: You basically hocked a giant loogie at it.
    Civilla OoC: I AM a Changeling and offspring of a Hag.
    Terzo OoC: Is Adhesive Spittle a Changeling trait?
    Civilla OoC: Nope, it’s a spell! It originated with witches, IIRC.
    Ayva OoC: Sounds about right, I can’t see a wizard inventing it.

    It’s a pity we can’t actually interrogate the thing - none of us can speak Sylvan. Hopefully the Tiefling who helped us identify the little monsters knows somebody that can translate for us - a flock of murderous fey is the last thing Kintargo needs at the moment.

    GM: The older Tiefling will translate for you, despite the shocking language - you can use Diplomacy or Intimidate, depending on your approach.
    Terzo: Given we’ve already used a cold iron dagger on it, and we set the others on fire in front of it, I suggest we go on as we started.
    Civilla: How so?
    Terzo: Intimidate.
    Civilla OoC: I’ve got a +3 on Intimidate, and +4 if they’re sexually attracted to me, but frankly I don’t want to know.

    Apparently the tooth fairies want to build a fortress entirely out of teeth. Even given the creature's size, a disturbing image. Best nuke the site from orbit. Or at least crawl into the ruin, soak the place in Keros Oil, and reduce them to a greasy cloud of soot. That’s the plan, at least, but the frankly awful series of dice rolls we’ve made all night continue, and Rajira is promptly paralysed while headfirst in the tooth-fairy den. It’s quite fortunate for the rebellion that none of us get killed trying to exterminate these vermin.

    We also find some rather horrifying evidence that the tooth fairy infestation was deliberately engineered. Which is honestly a bit odd - between the gate to hell in the old Silver Ravens base, and the fae infestation, it’s looking like somebody is trying to escalate the problems in Kintargo. And it seems unlikely that Thrune and his agents are responsible - they have no reason to be subtle about it, and have full authority to be as brutal and public as they like.

    Work on translating the documents we recovered from the Silver Raven’s former lair also continues, but for some reason Civilla’s decision to keep the one with the Secret Page between two sheets of lead, on the grounds that we’re not equipped to deal with magical documents yet, is so unexpected that our GM had to go ask other GMs for advice. No doubt we’ll find out how badly we’ve stuffed up soon.
  19. Like
    Steve got a reaction from Ninja-Bear in How much of an data dump do you need?   
    Ability ranges are always good, especially if there are caps on anything.
  20. Like
    Steve reacted to steriaca in To Save The World   
    Apollion is one of the big bad guys of the series. His true motives are unknown. He is extremely powerful and rairly shows up in the flesh. When he does show up, he is a red skinned man.
     
    According to the show bible, Apollion is a sort of a mad scientist who developed a method of altering DNA, including himself. Because of this, whenever he does show up he has different powers because of his DNA altering technology.
     
    Note: the DNA altering technology is also an excuse to explain having different actors playing certain villains and why some villains have inconstant powers. Even some heroes on the show undergo DNA altering. At least one villain has gone through gender change thanks to the DNA technology. 
  21. Thanks
    Steve reacted to DShomshak in Multiple pantheons   
    My "Magozoic" D&D setting has many pantheons, and only one. Theologians know there are 10 transcendent Godheads, called Archons, each associated with one of the celestial planes. However, mortals cannot interact directly with Archons -- only with avatars of the Archons, shaped by mortal imagination, whom mortals call gods. Gods seem to have distinct forms and personalities, can be born, die and reborn, get in fights, and generally behave like people with big magic powers. None of this affects the Archon, any more than a battle between two hand-puppets affects the puppeteer. A god can be forgotten for ages, but can be re-created if the ancient myths are rediscovered and the rites performed again. (One of the PCs just became the first cleric of such a long-forgotten god.)
     
    This permits an unlimited number of pantheons, which are all true and all false. Humans tend to have pantheons modeled on human royal families, because that's such a common human system of authority.
    * The Yidmiri pantheon (modeled rather obviously on the Greco-Roman pantheon) has a multiple generations, and many of the gods are children (legitimate or otherwise) of the ruling sky-and-storm god.
    * The Marolici pantehon (modeled on Norse) has two families, with some intermarriage, and a few oddballs of obscure origin.
    * The Drohashgi pantheon (modeled on Egyptian) has a primordial creator sun-god with several generations of descendants.
     
    But there are exceptions. The broad Macrine plain is a land of city-states who have spent millennia conquering each other. Each city had its own pantheon: the gods were nearly identical, but the names and relationships differed. When one city rose to dominate the rest, it declared its own gods the "real" versions and the gods of the conquered peoples were versions of them. After many millennia of this, the Macrine people stopped giving their gods names and just refer to them by the roles: the Thunderer, the Emperor and Empress, the Hierophant, the Overseer, the Priestess, the Charioteer, the Star-Maiden, the Fool, and so on.
     
    Nonhumans have different models of authroity and, consequently, different pantheons.
    * The region's dwarves seem to have a divine family -- but the other gods aren't the children of the dominant creator-god; they were made in the creator's forge. Dwarves take the artisan, rather than sexual reproduction, as their model of creative power.
    * The region's elves have a pantheon of deified heroes whose deeds made them living expressions of the Archons: for instance, the great general Ferrai became one of their war gods, while the mage Eboriax became their God of Magic by codifying the eight schools of wizardry. Most of their gods are deified elves because, well, obviously no one is more perfect than an elf (Admit it. In your heart you know it's true.) But not all.
    * The gods of the gnomes are also deified mortals, but they are gnomes who ascended to divinity through various comical or unlikely means; they are modeled on the Chinese Eight Immortals.
    And so on.
     
    Prophets are important in this system, because they shape mortal belief and so change the nature of the gods. This may result in radical re-interpretation. For instance, the cult of Jeduthon Soteira turned a randy and temperamental sun-god into a figure of mystic enlightenment. Many people worship Jeduthon Soteira who don't give a rat's ass about the rest of the Yidmiri pantheon. Another prophet re-interpreted the Drohashi sun-god Sorath (son of the primordial god Suzeratos; "active" ruler of Heaven to his passive authority) as the true and supreme god whom all must worship; and invented, basically, Jihadism.
     
    Conversely, there's also a lot of syncretism, as believers in Macrine gods assimilate gods from other pantheons to Macrine deities: as the Marolici storm-and-war god Talse and the Drohashi storm-and-war god Barakel are assimilated to the Thunderer.
     
    All this is in support of a campaign whose premise is one of mortals being responsible for the world they live in. There is no supernatural Big Bad, whether Satan, Sauron or Cthulhu, to blame troubles on. And if mortals get it wrong, there is no Daddy in the Sky to save them. Or even to tell them what the right course is.
     
    This is of course not suitable for every campaign. (And I threw out most of the bog-standard D&D cosmology.)
    Dean Shomshak
  22. Like
    Steve reacted to Tjack in To Save The World   
    Well, from being subjected to both the daytime and nightime soaps at different points in my life I know that there’s always a “bad boy” character of the “He’s not bad, he’s just misunderstood” variety in the mix somewhere. So let’s make him a brooding vigilante type called Night Angel.  That way Charisma can be torn between her forbidden love for him and the clean-cut Templar.
     
      Buffy/Angel/Riley.  OK so I’ll cop to the soapier aspects of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  23. Like
    Steve reacted to AlgaeNymph in To Save The World   
    There're at least two heroes named Templar and Charisma, and at least two villains named Pharaoh and Hecate.  The show's been around for ~20 years as of ~2006 and had an amusement part based on the show completed in late 2003 (and if only I had more information on that...), so I'd say it's fairly popular.
     
    As for what the show's like, it started in the late 80's and is described as a soap opera, so I'm guessing it's going to be a trope opera.  Especially since Travis Garver (the players of Templar) complained (rightly) of it becoming hackneyed.  I'd draw on the X-Men cartoons for inspiration regarding character interaction (combined with the occasional romance subplot from the DCAU, and possibly latter-day redeem-the-villain cartoons), with the series taking place in the kind of standard supers setting you see in RPGs.  Since it was created for syndicated television (almost certainly by a syndicate) before the era of Web-based cultural literacy, I expect the characters to be...archetypal, to put it politely.  For plot arcs, my intuition is to look at whichever kept-on-life-support shows have been making bank for Weekly Shōnen Jump.
  24. Thanks
    Steve reacted to Jhamin in Suicide Squad Explosive Charge   
    As I understand the effect, you don't roll dice.  The victim just dies.
     
    I'd say it's a physical complication: Dies if control signal is sent. (Infrequently, Fully)
  25. Like
    Steve reacted to Derek Hiemforth in Distinctive Features: Leitmotif   
    I'm not sure why there's any question over this, really. Everything you need for it comes right out of the box as a normal part of Distinctive Features:
     
    Presumably, the leitmotif always plays, and there's nothing the character can do to conceal it from those who can hear it. Therefore, the concealability factor is Not Concealable (base 15-pt. Complication). The reaction factor would be dependent on how characters react in-game. You said the leitmotif would only be detectible by people who spent points on the appropriate Unusual Senses (-10).
     
    So it's a Distinctive Features Complication worth 5 points if it's noticed and recognizable, 10 points if it causes a major reaction, or 15 points if it's an extreme reaction.
     
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