Steve reacted to MordeanGrey in Epic level heroes, demigods, and planeswalker player characters
I ran a Planescape game (old TSR/Wizards of the Coast/AD&D setting) for roughly two years using Fantasy HERO. There were two separate games.
In the first one the players all created normal fantasy characters (from a Prime world) and were thrust into Sigil, finding a complete world of wonder as they experienced all of it as a group for the first time.
The second game was also set in Sigil, but I allowed all of the players to create Planar characters who were already familiar with the Planes and allowed a wider range of character types and more powerful options.
Both games were a blast and really fun to run and popular with the players. Taking them outside of traditional fantasy world settings created a situation where they didn't know what they were encountering or how things worked. It was a nice break from the standard settings that we all use most of the time.
There are a ton of online resources available that might help you if you want to have them experience the Planes. The main boxed set covers the city of Sigil and provides an overview of the Planes.
Hellbound: The Blood War dives into the eternal conflict between the Devils (Baatezu) and the Demons (Tanari) and provides a great background setting for powerful characters to be challenged by powerful enemies.
Steve reacted to Fedifensor in Building a Better Hero Block
I've played in some of Bill Keyes' Hero games at local conventions, and he did a great job creating thematic sheets showing only what the players needed to play the characters during the adventure. I think there's a good argument for creating two character sheets for each character - one to use during play, and another to "show the math" that makes the character work.
Steve reacted to Sketchpad in Building a Better Hero Block
Not really, @Christopher R Taylor. The sheets are a bit too basic for my use. I'm thinking we could use something a bit more robust honestly. I'm thinking we'd need the other stats since they do have a purpose in the game. I was playing around with formatting a while back and came up with the following. Still not 100% happy with it, but it's coming along.
Steve reacted to Christopher R Taylor in Building a Better Hero Block
I forever used a laptop with GSPC handling combat duties for me, especially who moves when, what everyone's combat stats are, etc. Wonderful little program. Sadly I haven't run games since the new Hero Combat manager came out, so I can't really say how well that works but it looks good.
Hero has always had different types of sheets for different games. Champions had a space for an illustration and a big long powers block, Fantasy Hero had fancy scroll work and font changes, with a larger area for skills, Danger International had a really modern look with hit locations table, etc.
I'm not enormously fond of the newer character sheets, particularly 2 pages, but I always had a combat reference sheet for the back (in a transparent sleeve, for felt pen annotation and erasing). The front had the character, the back had combat space for keeping track of END use, being stunned etc, stun damage, body damage, and equipment. People seemed to like them fine. So its not so much the 2-sheet design that troubles me as the putting of all the stuff that used to fit on one sheet into two. Adds to the "Hero is more complicated" myth.
Steve reacted to zslane in Building a Better Hero Block
As an aid to the GM I guess this has merit, but aren't there computer tools to help manage all this during play?
Players, even new ones, shouldn't need anything more "stripped down" than what you find on an old 2E Champions character sheet. Obviously for something like Fantasy Hero where you've got more adventuring equipment to track, and possibly lots of spells to keep track of depending on your chosen magic system, you might need more than what a single-page superhero sheet provides, but I think the essential premise is the same: keep it as simple as a 2E Champions character sheet in terms of overall information density (which, BTW, included the maneuver table and a line for circling your Phases during a Turn).
Steve reacted to Spence in Building a Better Hero Block
I am currently working on sheets for characters. I am starting a new teaching game of Fantasy Hero (finally). One of the things I want to do is introduce the game without the horrifying insanely complicated (to novice players) standard character sheets.
So I have been tinkering on a stripped down one that just contains the information a player actually needs in play. Plus versions for npc/creatures.
I am also working on a "Play Sheet". One I intend to laminate for the players. It will contain the maneuvers and more importantly OCV/DCV calculations and anything else needed in run if play that is not 100% charactercentric.
The idea is to have a simple character sheet plus a reference where they can jot down things as they play.
Still working on it.
Steve reacted to DShomshak in Expanding on the countries
At risk of tooting my own horn, I recommend my "Worldbuilding: Social Design and Social Forces" thread, which I just bumped back up to the top of the page. You might find it useful for fleshing out the "deep structure" of how your setting functions.
If you want every city to have something colorful and distinctive (and I wouldn't say that's necessary for *every* city; concentrate your efforts on the places you intend the adventures to happen in), I'll repeat my usual recommendation of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. It's quite a short... prose poem? At any rate, Fantasy from an author who won the Nobel Prize for literature.
Steve reacted to Clonus in Real People Who Would have Been Supers In A Supers Universe
Real people whose counterparts would be supers in a supers world.
1. Traumatized by a terrible crime, the kidnap and murder of his child.
2. Had the best cutting edge aviation technology of the time
3. Had a flashy nickname "The Lone Eagle"
4. Eugenicist who allegedly also worked with Alexis Carrel a French surgeon who dreamed of improving humanity both through genetic improvement and cyborg replacement of body parts. Helped him invented a mechanical heart valve.
5. Denied the opportunity to join the military due to his Isolationist history, actually flew a few combat missions as a civilian.
1. Notorious occultist.
2. Sometimes called himself "Master Therion", identifying himself with the Beast of Revelation.
3. Allegedly tried to summon a god into himself.
1. Fantastically versatile female athlete driven to prove herself the best at everything.
2. Capability almost as great as her ego.
1. Wealthy British socialite.
2. Nazi sympathiser
3. Inflicted severe brain injury on herself in failed suicide attempt after the outbreak of war, allowed to return to Britain.
Princess Lamia bint Majid AlSaud
1. Wealthy philanthropist
2. Her name is Princess Lamia
Steve reacted to Lawnmower Boy in Poll: Which 'New Start to a new Super life 'themed Campaign would you want to play in?
I've voted for the least problematic option to my mind. (Past the Cold War, worried about politics, kind of cool to divine origins in general.) I actually liked the "Team Mutant" option in your last poll, Hermit, even if it didn't quite scratch my itch for "secret history" stories, which is the way I wish that particular subgenre had gone to start with.
, , ,
"Oh, good. You're awake. I've never actually had to tase someone before. I didn't think it was supposed to knock someone unconscious!"
Dylan tested his bonds. Not too bad. Easy enough to slip. When he'd learned whatever this guy was going to tell him. Which, according to movies that had nothing to do with real life, would be pretty much everything. "I don't think . . . I. I'm sorry. Who are you again?"
"Henry McCoy. Dr. McCoy, but I prefer being called Hank. I'm the Director here at the Sunshine Valley Private Hospital. And you . . I hope you don't mind a bit of invasion of privacy, are Dylan Lee, aged 21. You graduated from Wisconsin Journalism, last year, which doesn't seem like the world's best career choice in this year of our Lord 2015, but I notice you didn't ask me before you registered your major. You're are an intern at the New York Daily Bugle and you have a Master Card and a Visa, which is great, because you can use one to pay off the other and stave off bankruptcy twice as long!"
"So you Googled me. Dr. McCoy?"
"And searched our wallet. Yes. I was trying to figure out why you were sneaking around the wards in my hospital in a very cool black tactical outfit."
"We heard at the News that . . . Britney Spears . . . was an inpatient here."
"Baloney. We are an obscure little psychiatric hospital. In the 52 years this place has been open, under the previous director and myself, we have dealt with exactly one kind of patient: Young people who develop psychiatric issues around puberty. We are specialists, and I like to think that our results speak for themselves. While I like to think that we have something to offer celebrity patients, the fact is that our supporting foundation funds a diverse clientele ranging from the lower middle class to upper middle class. The wildest we get is some non-citizens. Two Russians! A Kenyan! One Japanese kid? Oh, wait, two starting next year."
Dr. McCoy hesitated, sighed. "Okay, and one celebrity. Allison was B-list back in the day. Still gets enough in residuals to drive a Lexus. Maybe we should advertise?"
Dr. McCoy shook his head, unconvincingly pretending to regret something. "Maybe not. Frankly, a solid career at an obscure little hospital in a Catskills resort town has done very well for me. I made a lot of money, I have a nice house and a private plane. The children and grandchildren of former patients cut my grass. Hope is the cutest little thing. Laura is not. Life has been pretty sweet."
Crap. McCoy was just going to stick with the cover story. Like a sane person would. The movies did lie! Dylan slipped his restraints and hit that mental turboboost that sped up his reflexes until everyone around him was standing still. This place. Could it be? When Director Lang explained the mission, all he'd been thinking about was his student loans. No way was this lead, the latest in sixty years of bad leads going to pan out. But then they took him down, and he knew that wasn't something they could do with a taser. Well, they weren't going to blindside him again!
Until they did. A solid thump, and he was down, wind knocked out, a solid looking man in a jumpsuit above him, the restraints back around his wrist. He'd never been hit like this. Was this what superheroes felt like all the time? Well, let him catch his breath and this donnybrook was back on!
"Looks like he's going to be back up in a second, Hank," the second man said. Where had he even come from?
"Put this on him, Tom."
"Is that what I think it is?" Tom asked.
"Don't get all high and mighty, Tom. These things work on 80% of us, detectors 80%. Dylan doesn't show up on our detectors. If the collar doesn't work, odds are he's not, you know. But if it does . . ."
And just like that, a smooth metal something was going around Dylan's throat, followed by a click and the worst headrush Dylan ever had. Or more than that, because suddenly his hands and feet were asleep and his stomach was trying to jump through his mouth. He tried to open his mouth, like you do when you're about to throw up, and somehow even that didn't work.
Dr. McCoy fished his phone out of his pocket, answered it. Apparently. Dylan's eyes weren't focussing very well, either. "Crap," Dr. McCoy said. "Nate's getting a headache. Get that thing off him before Chuck picks it up. The Old Man is fragile enough as it is."
The barest blur, and the collar was gone.
Dr. McCoy knelt down, held out his hand. "Here. I'll help you into that chair if we can agree that you're not going to fight your way out of here, Dylan. Agent Lee."
"I'm not a real agent," Lee said. "CIA does interns, too. At least they pay, unlike The Bugle."
"SENTINEL, Dylan, not CIA."
"Dr. McCoy means that you're an agent --an intern-- for a shadow agency within the CIA. SENTINEL. It is tasked with hunting people like us." Tom talked very fast.
"Us? I'm nothing like you, Speedy Gonzalez. You're the X-Men, a bunch of super-terrorists going back 60 years. I'm a vaguely patriotic Millennial who really needs a safe civil service job to have any hope of paying off his student loans." But inside, Dylan's stomach was going out again. They knew what he was. And in that moment he understood just how much he had always wanted to know the same.
Dr. McCoy sighed again. "How much do you know about speciation theory in evolution?"
"I thought you were a psychiatrist?" Crap. For a moment, Dylan had thought he might belong. But this sounded like gibberish.
"I'm a supergenius. Just like you have totipotent reflexes. Because you were born that way. Because you are a mutant. Which means that if your employers ever figure out how you got your powers, you're going to find out what the inside of an extermination camp looks like."
"I . . . what? The government isn't running some secret Holocaust for movie monsters! That's crazy!" Although Dylan was willing to believe a lot of things about Director Lang. It had always been hard to believe that a man with so much hate inside him could be running his own division.
"The government isn't doing anything. There are 416 mutants on this entire planet, and a good third of them were picked up by us long before SENTINEL noticed them. Which means that your agency thinks that it is quietly dealing with a problem on a scale of one to two people born a year. All antisocial and dangerous, incidentally. The CIA has kept bigger secrets. But you know what isn't a secret that they could keep? An enclave of 99 mutants, all living in commuting distance of New York and staffing their own superteam. We really need to keep it that way for a very, very long time. Like, say, 800 years at the current rate of natural increase. We also really don't want them finding out that detectors and inhibitors aren't 100% reliable. It's shocking enough to find out that CEREBRO isn't."
"If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, I'm out," Tom said. "I think Laura has her Dad's number if you need it. Or Emma?"
Dr. McCoy shook his head. "No, I'm not. Dylan's a mutant and he's stable. The community can't lose him. Demographically speaking. In fact, I'm tempted to drag this boy down to the Guthries right now. There's a lot of girls there who really don't want to marry a cousin. And boys, too, pardon your brother's patience with an old-fashioned Boomer. And we need to find out how CEREBRO missed him, and who else it might have missed."
Dr. McCoy hesitated for a second. "Dylan, would you like a job? Because I could really use a secret agent man on my action team."
Steve reacted to unclevlad in Sleepwalking
Well, if I remember the definitions, it's a Physical Complication. It's not a Psych Complication; it doesn't fit any of the basic modes to me; a compulsion when you're asleep? 😀 Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Just for reference, the book says "A Physical Complication 'affects' a character when it has a measurable impact on his ability to function during the game." OK, here, the character is compromising his personal security when he sleepwalks.
The obvious points of discussion are choosing the factors. Frequency...not only is it "how often does the sleepwalking occur" but how often does it lead to risk? Which includes simple risk of exposure, even as a super. That can be bad enough; it might not compromise a secret ID, but it would make maintaining it a lot harder. Just knowing someone's a super makes him a focus for any ID hunting, and tends to raise attention onto his actions. If his sleepwalking never takes him outside his residence or base, the risk of exposure is very slight.
The other issue is, as you point out, how blatant is it? Yeah, sleepflying outside would be...kinda hard to miss. Barely impairing might be, no obvious powers at all...but walking across hot, rough pavement barefoot (because he's got some permanent rPD) without even noticing...that would be a hint. Greatly might be, not only outing him as a super, but giving clear clues to his hero ID. or even exposing him to an attack.
Steve reacted to Duke Bushido in By Request: Wetchley House (Supermage Base)
I have collected Champions-compatible maps for years; and I thank you for these, Sir.
There is a constant repeating issue with Champions-compatible floor plans, though.
Maybe-- just maybe-- I have been spoiled by the book of Star Trek ship plans I had when I was younger, but I can't help but notice that there are _hundreds_ --if not _thousands_!-- of people living in superhero universes, all going about their daily lives, forever, with absolutely no bathrooms at all, period.
(seriously: I think the best one I saw featured a three-story, twelve-or-so bedroom mansion with _one_ bathroom listed on the entire floor plan. Yikes!)
Steve reacted to DShomshak in Poll: Which 'New Start to a new Super life 'themed Campaign would you want to play in?
With a telepath in the backstory, the infiltrator(s) might not even know it... "The Manchurian Superhero," for extra paranoia!
Though the question arises: Hpow does a government control a telepath who can implant deep programming? Who handles the handler? Loyalties may change more than once in such a campaign -- or at least, whgo needs saving from whom.
Steve got a reaction from Hermit in Poll: Which 'New Start to a new Super life 'themed Campaign would you want to play in?
For the infiltration option, maybe only one PC is an actual infiltrator.
The con works best if most of the PC supers involved are actually sincere and only one (or maybe two) are playing a different game.
Steve got a reaction from Hermit in Poll: Which 'New Start to a new Super life 'themed Campaign would you want to play in?
Turncape sounded the most interesting to me. However, the hunt and chase could end pretty quickly if there are too many DNPCs to manage and they start getting captured, so that may encourage a bunch of orphan PCs who never got married or had any children.
It could also be one massive scam to infiltrate Russian heroes into the American superhero subculture and gain access to secrets, something like the Thunderbolts idea.
Steve reacted to Hermit in Theme Teams
Mystic has worked pretty darn well for me at least once or twice, it's rather versatile. You get your spell flinger (Blaster Mentalist with flavor), your Weapon Master (ala Black Knight), Martial artist (With some Chi effects) , Brick (Demon Hybrid or Golem sort) and so on.
Common origins I've done successfully plenty, one of my best games was a radiation accident among a group of friends at a college lab but the powers were very varied if innate
Steve reacted to DShomshak in Theme Teams
In my two playtest campaigns for Ultimate Supermage and Ultimate Mystic, all the characters were of course mystical in some way. A friend of mine also ran a "dark mystical" campaign: both Morningstar (from USM) and Doctor Teneber (from Arcane Adversaries and CV3) were my PCs from that campaign.
Another friend of mine was in a campaign where, by chance, all the players wrote up some kind of brick. The GM ran with it. They called the team... The Brick Wall!
Steve reacted to KawangaKid in Theme Teams
I played in a game we called the Black Band Brigade. Here are the three posts on my blog from years back that approximates what it was like.
In essence, think of a bunch of normal folks (I'm talking 2 SPD, MAYBE 3 SPD, and normal-ish defenses, etc.) who get Power Rings. We just went Black Band because all of us wore Black Watches in real life, and the band would camouflage itself as such when in Normal ID.
From the blog: "Players are asked to build PCs with Skilled Normals (50 CP, 30 pts in Complications), but will be playing characters worthy enough to play in the Standard Superheroic (400 CP, 75 pts in Complications) range. This is because the 300 CP in powers and abilities and 45 pts. In Complications will be a mandatory package assigned to all the PCs."
It was fun because you got to roleplay freaking out, keeping a secret with everyone else, and trying not to get killed by a number of hunters after the black bands (think of those guys in Ben10 always after the Omnitrix -- but this was waaaaaay before Ben10) and these tended to be villains from any of the books out at the time with the numbers filed off.
Being really powerful, but having only 2 or 3 SPD, made teamwork MANDATORY when going up against the 3, 4, and 5 SPD "weaker" foes who could take your head off if you didn't have your Force Field up...
Steve reacted to DShomshak in Coins, Treasure & Daily Life
Might be worth remembering that D&D-ish coinage is already a radical simplification to turn money into an easily-tracked game resource. In Medieval Europe, not only did every country have its own money, the value could shift depending on how much base metal was alloyed with the gold or silver. In his Pratica della Mercatura, the merchant Pegolotti lists the moneys of western and southern Europe and the Middle East, and rates them for quality. In a world like that, how much something costs gets kind of metaphysical: In what currency? From what year, because it it could change? Moneychangers were vital. But that sort of chaos is probably more detail than most players want when their characters just want to buy a new sword or whatever.
The Pratica has other material that might be inspirational for a campaign set in a trade city, though. Like, one chapter is a list of "Spices," by which Pegolotti meant any relatively high-value commodity that wasn't cloth, precious metals or gems: actual spices, but also medicines, dyestuffs, and much more. One thing that stands out is how Pegolotti distinguishes between the sources for some commodities. For instance, he lists alum (used in dying cloth, so pretty important) from several sources, and rates some of them as better or worse quality.
You could use this as local color to show the trade going on in the trade city. Like, suppose you want a bar fight as part of the adventure. Instead of just having some guys start fighting, describe two merchants arguing. "You thief! You swindler! You promised me Karahissar alum, but I got Cyzican alum! Don't try to deny it, I can tell the difference. I want my money back!" "Why, you liar! That was the finest Karahissar alum, you're just trying to cheat me into getting a lower price!" A tankard gets thrown, and the fight is on!
Steve reacted to C-Note in Coins, Treasure & Daily Life
I'm running a Fantasy Hero campaign set in the Hyborian Kingdoms, so I created a Hero Designer prefab with many different coins from several kingdoms with their relative values. It is easily adaptable to any fantasy setting, and can be downloaded here:
I based everything off the generic "silver piece" where 1SP = $1.00. Feel free to adjust values accordingly.