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Everything posted by Territan

  1. One of the combatants in my game is a dual-weapon wielder. What's the procedure for that? Should I use GM attack for attacks after the first?
  2. I too would like to hear more about the Hero System pack and its pending release; I just picked up TTS (at the retail price, sadly) because waiting for the pack is easier than adapting Fantasy Grounds to the task. I'm still going to try to get FG to play Champions; it's just going to take a while.
  3. Oh, yes I do. I picked the date for a very precise reason. Look up Harry Daghlian in connection with that date, then look up Louis Slotin and what they had in common, and let the wheels turn for a bit. Mind you, in the continuity as I'm representing it, certain naming was done first...
  4. Reality cracked, and the superhero age officially began, due to a mystic conflagration on August 21, 1945. Scientific studies around the Los Alamos Laboratories almost always generate surprising and unwanted results. (Admittedly, anyone who puts together that time and place will start down a particular rabbit hole. I just had to make it a little more twisty to open up all sorts of paths.)
  5. Okay, found it. But here's what I don't get now: 3d6 HKA = 45 points. The one advantage is one level of Armor Piercing (+1/4); the other modifiers are Focus (OAF of convenience, -1/2) and "Real Weapon" (-1/4). On the table on p. 101, a DC3 (STR 15) add to a killing attack with a +1/4 mod would add 1d6-1 to damage, not 1/2d6. Am I doing the math here wrong?
  6. With a bit of experimentation in HD, I found out that if Armor Piercing is added to a HTH Killing Attack, the STR add to damage is reduced. A character with 15 STR only adds 1/2d6 to the damage instead of 1d6. Would someone please point out to me where in the rules this interaction is coded, please?
  7. Okay, it's been a few more sessions, and between the advice here and their declarations, I have a course forward. If there's a game after that fall-out, it may well be post-apocalypse. But first... "Just end the relationship" sounds so simple. I have proposed ending the game quietly and gently in the past. They weren't having any of it—they absolutely wanted it to continue. If I end it, I'm essentially going to have to not just knife the baby, but feed it through the in-sink disposal. Given that they're still playing murderheroes, every day I'm feeling better and better about that future action. ... Seriously? Okay, perhaps it's an interesting take, making the PC's potential girlfriend a murderer, but in a heroic campaign, that would make her unsustainable as a DNPC. Then again, since I've observed that the heroism in this campaign is skid-marked, paper-thin, and not even two-ply soft, it's a cruel twist I could use elsewhere. It's not that she found the clues nobody else could, she found the clues nobody else even bothered to look for. Here's another odd detail about this group: For all their apparent love of roleplay, between four active characters at the moment (among three players), there are only two DNPC Complications, and as has been observed one of them was apparently a mistake and misunderstanding about how a Dependent NPC would be, y'know, Dependent and might need rescuing from time to time. The other DNPC is on the groundhog. My problem is pretty close to ⬆︎this⬆︎. It may be a little more like "The players are turning up their noses at these loose threads like they're all gummy worms that have been licked by that one kid that has cooties. Is there some way forward beside ending the campaign or treating them like the combat monsters they seem to want to become?" And what I'm hearing from the conversation here is mostly "no" with two undercurrents, one of "they just don't want to do mysteries" and the other of "well you're doing mysteries wrong" despite, well, let's just say that I'm going to blithely ignore any further mentions of GUMSHOE from here on out in a fit of tit-for-tat. A More Complete Run-Down of the Situation As Everything Comes Crashing Down Around Them The inciting event with the whole DNPC thing is that there had been a string of robberies at the houses of people who had been at events hosted by that catering company. That rumor was essentially handed to PC by that DNPC the night of that event. Also on that particular night, someone's house got broken into and info taken which the previous owners really didn't want getting out, so the people (or folks above them in the conspyramid) caught onto the rumor about the catering company being involved and essentially murdered the business, burning most of its assets (and its owner and a few other people) to the ground in an effort to find the thieves. Months later (after PC essentially told DNPC to look into it herself) the DNPC had tracked down another of the employees and was having a meeting with her when the guy that burned down the business before interrupted. DNPC really was trying to give that girl a better chance to get away, but that didn't work out and that's how her car got crashed and burned. There was even sign that someone powered was involved, as each of his firing positions had footprints burned into the ground or concrete (a Side-Effect of his power). DNPC had managed to track down someone important in the debacle, though, and asked PC about those people and whether their house was reported broken in (it was broken in, but not reported). A basic answer was given, after which the PC decided to get hammered and ended up two states away (in the process aiding and abetting a fugitive, and all she had to do was flash a little skin; did I forget to mention this group's reputation as "funtime heroes"?). Rather than kill her, though, the group behind all of this decided to prop her up, and look for ways to use her against him—they gave her a good job, a new car, a fair salary, and put her under near constant surveillance. She is essentially a free-to-move-about-town hostage at this point, and if she does anything to help the team, they'll see no use in keeping her alive. She's either got to play along or make some wonderfully dramatic information dump that changes all the facts of the case, and she's lost all faith in PC and will expect him to drop her at his earliest convenience (see also: swapping out the DNPC Complication). When she revealed all of these windfalls (which would have sounded alarms in a heroic type), he shrugged and said "okay." Even when he saw a woman watching them from another level of Pike Place, he briefly acknowledged her and went on his merry way. No F's given. (It may be clear now why I found the hypothesis that she was in on the murder so particularly ridiculous; she's as much victim as the other girl. It's just that her death has been deferred.) The conspiracy behind that has done other things, too; there was a team in the base they're using that was routed a decade before by a large force of armed men. One of said armed men was conducting surveillance on the home of the administrator at the base who isn't working for that conspiracy. And they discovered that another base, in Atlanta, had been run through with a similar force many months before, and mind-affecting projectors placed on the building to make people forget. References in media were scrubbed by other agents to make that team unhistory. And that conspiracy is behind the other administrator of the team. Pretty soon she, with the help of agents within the police department, would start planting evidence and concocting crimes with which to frame individuals that the conspiracy wanted taken down. I mean, who wouldn't like a fighting force that can be aimed and fired at a target you want eliminated? And given that the group is dependent on the police for their investigations (Between the three constant characters, there are three points of Criminology. The groundhog has three points of Forensic Medicine), there's a good chance that they can be so aimed. Of course, none of that might matter... There's been a feature of the campaign from the very beginning: From the outset, I told them that their characters could not have alien or inter-dimensional backgrounds. The reason for this, they would discover, is that there is a group of five beings who is literally billions of years old, have pretty much every power they could imagine (think 2000-point VPP with no change time or restrictions), and is keeping Earth interdicted until humanity proves itself ready. Of course, they didn't like this, believing that they were treating Earth like an ant farm rather than a nursery. Finally, one of the PCs (supposedly the most rational, stable one of the bunch) decided to break the interdiction and demand that access to aliens be granted. Out of play, that player was talking about how "cosmic-level" campaigning would involves attacks around 20d6 like it was a good thing. They want the challenge. They're actually looking forward to new opponents. They're almost literally dead wrong on this, and that group of five which I'd been calling the "Gatekeepers" were right to keep Earth closed off. 20d6? Try 30d6. 40d6. 50d6. They're going to find themselves outmatched quickly and brutally, and the land around them devastated. Like I said, this could become a post-apocalypse campaign. Or they could do something to make everything even worse. #30# The problem could be self-correcting, except that they might actually like the idea of playing post-apocalypse murder-powered-warlords.
  8. Okay, so combat, combat, combat, combat, and combat. We can put that topic to bed now. I'd been trying to run this thing "slice of life" style. There'd be combats, there'd be times when they need to talk to people to get things done, there'd be times when they need to talk people down from doing something foolish or destructive. And I tried to throw in times when they'd have to do a little searching to find who it is they'd need to fight, talk up, or talk down. The feel of the campaign as a living space may be one of the few reasons they know as many of the NPCs' names as they do (and it's still bitterly disappointing what a percentage that is). I would like to back away from all-fighto-all-the-time and get them to think, but I'm fairly certain now the players who were interested in thoughtful RP and investigation just don't show up any more, and I'm left with the murderheroes. Most of all, at this moment, I'd like to back away from this campaign before it becomes something truly ugly, or start over with characters that are nowhere near as defensive in their design. In this, telling the Gatekeepers to lift the alien embargo might be enough to end the campaign right there, as they were right in keeping them away. They had an NPC once, a team-mate that did some of the investigating stuff for them. He had to leave town for reasons that I won't get into here. But they nicknamed him "Batman" because he was reacting to clues. Basically, his attempts to investigate and understand what was going on was just cause for mockery to the PCs. I have a breathtakingly passive-aggressive group. "Deliberately dragging their feet" could well be an understatement. (Or you could just look at this thing I wrote in 2015 and give me advice out of that.) Death is the easy way out. Remember that knife-twist I mentioned earlier? After all the above happened, DNPC emerges from hiding as if nothing happened, but clearly something did. The once struggling reporter suddenly has a job with a reputable news organization, a few quick high-profile bylines about events around town, and enough money for a new car, one far better than the beat up old station wagon she'd been tooling around in. She emerges from the incident with an apparent boost of confidence and bravado—which is especially troubling considering that she's a normie and the "incident" involved being chased by a walking flamethrower and watching someone die in her place. No, she doesn't want to talk about what happened, and why should she want to relive that awfulness? It's better that she focus on the future and do what she must to continue living well. And then the PC gets the option to drop the DNPC Complication in favor of something else. No, he can't buy her as a Contact because reasons.
  9. Earlier I rattled off a bunch of Gumshoe titles (and come to think of it, I omitted The Fall of Delta Green). It's possible that I've opened one or two of those books too. I've had a few hours to consider the situation, and I've come up with a few ways to twist the knife. One very minor event might spur him into action: the police sending over a picture of the Girl from the Bar, who "you met two previous times, once at a nightclub in town, and once at the bar association dinner way back on December 18th. She worked for the company that catered the event, the one that DNPC said hosted events where guests got burgled, and which burned down about a month later with the owner inside (a tall, lanky fellow who you also met at that dinner)." It's almost an "It was Bob Barker, and he was eating a bologna and cheese-ball sandwich"-grade summation of the situation. That might well light a fire under him. If it doesn't, then I have two different courses where the fate of DNPC takes a very dark turn indeed. And the one in which she lives might be even more tortuous, so I'm torn... He just very recently twigged onto the distinction. I think he just doesn't know how to look after someone in-game. I wouldn't be posting here if (1) was an option. (2) is singularly unrewarding, considering that I think I've taken more notes on this one campaign alone than they have on all the games they've played in combined. I have an idea for something like (2/3), where a certain administrator who's inclined to treat them as useful idiots actually does so at the behest of someone interested in using all available resources for social control. They get their super-fights, someone above them gets an almost villainous level of control in the city... everybody wins! If you really feel this way and it's not just hyperbole, don't run this for them. No game is better than bad game, and if you've really landed a bunch of irredeemable murderhobos you're not going to see a miracle occur.  Yeeeeah, that's the funny thing. Despite being so Clue Resistant, they've had enough knock-down-drag-outs in this campaign that they like this game. They look forward to it, and it's like they see these investigations as an intrusion into the purity of their RP and their combat. And it could get worse now that they've basically told the people preventing alien attacks to let them through. (And now I can't stop thinking they did that so they could get into more fights with aliens.) It was a much larger group before; it started with five people who knew jack about playing Champions. One of them was so nervous he almost ran his minivan off the road, taking two players with him. Getting them to play then was a triumph, and given how many there were, it made sense to de-emphasize people's Complications (like DNPCs). Now the group has thinned down to 2 regulars and 1 groundhog (comes out of his hole once a year), essentially. Maybe it has run its course. The trick is convincing them.
  10. This is not about a character failing to spot a detail. This is about a character having a detail dropped squirming into his lap, casually brushing it aside, and going out that night to get plastered. Actually, several details, but I'll get into that in a minute. But this is a Champions game. Technically, that would make them "murderheroes." That ...doesn't sound like an improvement. It also doesn't sound inaccurate. You're also coming in on the tail end of this, so you don't have all the information as it's been thrown at them. That information is forthcoming here. And I think many people would. Hence, my frustration. You mean like buying into The Esoterrorists (both editions), Fear Itself (both editions), Mutant City Blues, Trail of Cthulhu, Ashen Stars, Night's Black Agents, and The Gaean Reach? And any one of those would help me run a mystery? Golly! (⬅︎ sarcasm tag) Okay, seriously, I have tried running Night's Black Agents for these guys. They had trouble keeping track of two things: the names, and the facts. That experiment didn't last long, and still went on longer than it should have. And to everyone I promised a more proper recapping of the story: A More Proper Recap PC is a lawyer. He's also an inventor and "Powered Armor" character, very much like Tony Stark except with less guilt, ethics, or concern over the repercussions of his actions. His DNPC (yes, his DNPC, and until recently he thought he had paid for her as a Contact) is a tabloid reporter out of necessity since she tries to sell some far-out stories. This particular plot started in early December, when PC attended a bar association dinner, interrupted only by a disturbance where some tabloid reporter (yes, DNPC) had gotten hold of a catering company uniform and was trying to gather information first and fit in second. The information she was trying to gather was about some robberies that had occurred at the homes of people who attended this particular catering company's functions. (Although, let's jump back a week or two and note that he met someone who worked with that catering company at another bar in town.) After checking on the security of his own home, he looked briefly into those robberies, found nothing super-powered (read: interesting to him), and let the issue drop. A month later, the catering company's main building had burned to the ground, with the owner inside. (Incidentally, PC also met the owner of that catering company at the function.) The police didn't immediately spot anything meta-powered, just suspicious and unexplained. To the team, the incident wasn't noteworthy, so they let the issue drop. Finally, around September, DNPC is still doing some digging on the catering company story, and struck not paydirt but lava. Behind a bunch of warehouses (one of which was used by the catering company as a walk-in fridge and storage facility; the owner paid a year in advance around November, and the lease was still technically valid), DNPC met with Girl From Club in one of those warehouses, was interrupted by the powered individual the team probably wouldn't mind taking down if they knew about him. DNPC gave Girl From Club her car keys to give her a fighting running chance and snuck away in the other direction. The powered individual went after the car, and burned the occupant to death. (Remember again that PC had met Girl From Club before, on two separate occasions. He might have felt something, if he remembered her.) DNPC, quite naturally, went into hiding, emerging only briefly to meet with PC at a restaurant and discuss some of the details of the incident. A day or two later, DNPC called, with some urgency and asking that very oddly specific question involving Benjamin and Theresa Duffey, a burglary in their house, and the night of December 18th, which incidentally was the night that bar association dinner took place. DNPC got the answer from PC ("Google says ...no, they didn't"), and hung up. And PC, having no leads to go on, threw his hands up in apathy disgust and proceeded to go out and get blind stinking drunk—he has immunity to toxins and alcohol, unless he chooses to turn it off, which he does at times like that. And that's how he ended up in a completely different state. #30# The group has a reputation as little more than "funtime heroes," or "Beavis and Butthead and Powers" for a reason. They're all stinking rich, leave pretty much all investigation to the police, and names tend to go in one ear and out the other, if they even make it to the first ear. As a group they can remember some names, like their two administrators (one of which really is plotting against the team, but doing so slowly), the three primary members of the monitor room staff (there are nine in rotation now, and they can't remember their schedules worth a damn), but for the rest? Fuhgeddaboudit. Hydrocephalic goldfish have better retention. They also treat the powers list like a mix of sugar and cocaine, and the skills list like a mix of boiled Brussels sprouts and Hitler. A look at their character sheets would suggest that yeah, they're trolling as hard as they possibly can. In the discussion above there was talk of "invitations to combat." In a sense, all superhero adventures are just that: an inciting event that leads the heroes down the potentially twisty path to a knock-down drag-out fight at the end, to allow justice to shine forth (yay!). The catch here is that the criminals, in a fit of pure, cold pragmatism, all don't want to send that invite. They'd rather continue their nefarious deeds unhindered and unopposed. Rarely do they send out invitations; usually the heroes just find them, dropped accidentally at crime scenes. They needn't call for full investigation with cattle prods and microscopes, but my interpretation of the genre that one must be willing to be at least a little informed and ask some questions. It's prompted the question, "how directly must I present the invite, and how much gilding and engraving must it have, to get them to come to the party?" The question "are they investigators?" need not be asked; no, they are not. And three points in Criminology isn't going to make them one. (I was actually impressed surprised he went that far, instead of adding more combat effects to his suit.) The problem with the next question, "are they heroes?" is that if the answer is "no they are not," the follow-up question is "then what is the point of this team and this campaign?" And that question has an answer that, in the long run, they're not going to like. But if it gets that far, it's on them.
  11. I have to ask now, because I have trouble believing that I'm being that difficult... Let's say, just as a hypothetical, you found yourself in a situation where your DNPC's car was found burned out off the access road behind a bunch of warehouses. Someone else was driving it. There was almost guaranteed a meta behind that strike. At a later furtive meeting, she confides that she had been getting information from the woman who was driving her car when they were attacked; she got away, but not without watching that other woman die in her place first. Then, shortly after that, she calls in and asks frantically, "Quick, can you tell me if Benjamin and Theresa Duffey reported a burglary in their house on the night of December 18th?" Perhaps dealing with that group for so long has blunted my understanding of how to run a mystery, but... Would the rational, responsible, heroic thing to do under those circumstances be: Do nothing about the mystery, claiming that "I don't have any leads; I'm just waiting for information at this point," Go on a drunken bender hard enough to end up in another state, or All of the above? I think I can be excused for thinking I need better players.
  12. I did consider posting it as a Hero System rules question. But then, Steven Long would have been the only one who could answer it. Also, this is specifically about a Champions power build. This isn't so much about what the rules say as how the rules can be massaged to get the desired effect—less technical, more artistic. I figured I'd find the most creative interpretations around here.
  13. Is there any sort of Adder or Advantage that one can add to a power to cause an knockdown / knock prone in combat? The player's request is that it could force a DEX check to stay standing, or work automatically. But is there some power add-on (or maybe a Power, like Change Environment?) that can cause that kind of pressure and difficulty to stay standing?
  14. I'm getting fed up with my group, enough so that I may spike the campaign I'm currently running with them, even though they enjoy it immensely. I describe my players as "diabetic kids locked in a candy store for a weekend." They've built the most densely top-heavy combat-based characters imaginable. They don't forget skills or merely neglect their skills as backhand them out of the way as they pass that rack on the way to pick up more powers. Sometimes during play, they may say "I need to pick up that skill," but after the session ends, invariably they reach for the Powers book first and the skill list a distant seventeenth. How do I stop this? Throwing tougher opposition at them merely validates their decision to power up. I prefer to think I run a fairly heavy skill- and interaction-based game, but the one time a skill-based character nearly "got away with it," the gnashing of teeth and threats to ragequit the investigation were impressive indeed. (Maybe that's the way I need to go?) Additional point of information: This game has gone on for a while now, so some of these characters have crested 500 points (400+100XP). Those points have to go somewhere. And these people pretty much cut their teeth on Marvel, which was powers first and skills a distant seventeenth, so...
  15. Meanwhile, I've made progress in my question of "average damage," for the sake of balancing combats, and I came up with a program that accepts the attacker's OCV, SPD, the damage class of an attack and an optional stun modifier if that's a killing attack, a defender's DCV, CON, and relevant defense in both regular and resistant forms, and it calculates: Probability the attacker hits, How many hits on average the attacker should land per turn, Damage inflicted on average, both per attack and per turn, from a normal attack, Chance the defender would be Stunned per normal attack, Chances the defender wouldn't take BODY or STUN from the normal attack, Damage inflicted on average, both per attack and per turn, from a killing attack, Chance the defender would be Stunned per killing attack, and Chance the defender wouldn't take BODY or STUN from the killing attack. I have it running in a standalone Swift app (obviously I'm using a Mac), but the standalone Java app is an eventual target for which I have Netbeans locked and loaded. I wonder if people might actually want something like that, either as a standalone Java applet running alongside the other Hero Games product, or if it could be introduced as a plug-in. ... I bring this up because I have to admit a deep sinking in my heart when I first saw this thread. I know of the type of players you folks speak, but owing to my own understanding of the game's probabilities and maths, I have some trouble putting myself in that frame of mind. People who can't add or even make groups of tens with a fistful of d6s? Yeah, I know people who literally couldn't do the math on advantages and limitations to save their lives, but I know at least one person who can and has who picked it up having seen nothing earlier than 6th edition, and I know that people who played it back then (myself included) could do all that with scrap paper — calculators could get expensive for students, and Java hadn't even been invented then, so no Hero Designer. I wrote in a comment on someone's website once that "The original RPGs are capable of running on the same hardware today as they could back then, or they would be if the modern processors didn't have less capacity and were prone to overheating." It was kind of a joke at first. Now I'm not so sure. Clearly given the above, I have to admit I'm not normal, but there's this nagging feeling that some folks are settled in at the other end of the curve and won't budge for nothin'. I lurrrves me some modern story games (I'm currently also running a Gumshoe game that's displaced my Fate game), but I keep coming back to this one. (And I want to run a GURPS campaign at the local store, but that's a story for another time.) Math isn't some sort of genetic gift, like the ability to digest dairy or lick your eyebrows. It's a skill, like playing the guitar or reading bookcase assembly instructions, and that means it can be learned and developed. Or neglected. And hiding from it falls into the latter category. So does running from it screaming. Please note, it's not my intention to denigrate those who can't learn basic math skills. Not having the skill, though, is not the same as not being able to learn it. I feel I should also warn against sanding off too many of the game's sharp edges for new players. Do that too often, and you're left with something far less than you started. I mean, cripes! That's how we ended up with Fuzion!
  16. I've got a mixed bag in my current group. One player doesn't understand the math. The problem is, he's not so much stupid as willfully ignorant. His eyes don't have the time to glaze over; if you try to explain the math, he'll simply interrupt and flat-out ask you: Can he do the thing with the points he's got? He also considered the Champions Powers book a much "better" resource for buying powers than the main book because the things in there do the things he wants. One player does get it, and is quickly veering into early 2000 Champions minimaxer territory. He's looking to get as much out of the points available to him as possible. At least his excesses tend to be story-driven; the "combat stapler" that autofires soporific darts starts as a joke in-game. And one is just happy to have her helicopter. To go with her motorcycle. And no, she started out as a sonic-based character. I don't think she's put much thought into the direction of her character beyond her next disastrous date. Meanwhile, the question had been stuck in my head how to best balance combats to their capabilities, and by taking into account OCVs, DCVs, SPDs, CONs, and defenses, I have a quick-ish program that I can plug in values and run from a shell. And it works, too; it takes longer to edit in the values than to run the programs and get the results. So far I've written it in Swift and Ruby; Python is next, and Java may come shortly after that. (I happen to like math.)
  17. Excuse me, but so far it looks like nobody mentioned the "Superhero Gallery" section of the Champions 6E sourcebook. The Superhero Gallery provides twenty character templates—in forms like "brick," "speedster," "telekinetic," "mystic master," etc.—which have a whole bunch of swappable parts to make a serviceable character in a matter of minutes, possibly seconds if you have the Champions Sourcebook Hero Designer add-in and good file management. Attributes start at base levels for each template, and each template provides at least three sets of add-ins for customization of those (e.g. "Basic Brick," "Brawler," "Brute," "Nimble Brick"). Powers are typically broken down into Offensive, Defensive, Movement, and Secondary powers, and the template lists a bunch of powers in each category to draw from. Many characters are built on the traditional 60-point multipower, and templates using that list a dozen or so powers that fit the theme and tell you to pick five. Each template will list a number of Skill points to invest, and provide packages of Skills and Complications that fit especially well, but there are bunches of themed Skill and Complication packages at the start of the Gallery that you can also draw from, things like "Beautiful/Handsome Set," "Cat Burglar Set," "Friends and Colleagues Set," "Hacker Set," "Hand to Hand Combat Set," "Playboy Set," "Achilles Heel Set," "Curse Set," "Radiation Accident Set"... And yeah, somewhere in the middle there I switched from Skills to Complications. It should be evident where. If you're working with new players, I think the book is worth it for this section alone, and Hero Designer and this book's add-in elevate it further. You can have the entire team whipped up and printed in an hour or so (printer not included). If you have the PDF version of this book, it's also a good idea to print out 2-3 copies of the first section of the Superhero Gallery, and one double-sided page of each template. That way everyone can kind of work at the same time. Also, one copy of each template limits repetition. I'd also recommend the Powers book with a caveat, because I've observed with my group that having a huge book named Powers and no accompanying volume named Skills results in power-heavy, investigation-light characters that really, really want to be overpowered. But the Powers book is easier to pick from than the combined Powers, Advantages, and Limitations of Volume 1.
  18. Fancy you mentioning this, because in the other campaign I mentioned, this is becoming increasingly possible as the hero team is trying to track down the parts of a time machine (of ancient Greek design), and they're not quite sure what they'll do with it when they get it all assembled (but they've got some catastrophically, potentially campaign-endingly bad ideas). The campaign has been through a number of other temporal changes (for different reasons), so things aren't uniform all over. A change to history might cause a city to spontaneously appear. But, because things have been changing around radically, it might be lagging behind other changes made in the campaign, or it might lead them. It might not have magic, or it might have a functioning star-port with ships waiting to go exactly nowhere, or it could be the shattered remains of a settlement of humanity after the Last World War in 1963. (The last one could be the most brain-breaking, so it's sorely, sorely tempting.)
  19. Sort of borrowed from everybody: Umbrella Logistic, Tactical, & Reconnaissance Agency. Two things make this one attractive to me: 1. The connotation of "overhead cover or protection during a storm," and 2. Little enamel umbrella lapel pins. You know you want one.
  20. One of the campaigns I'm running now started with a very different take than any of these others. There was a thriving superhero team, but suddenly about a decade ago, a team of very well-armed assailants stormed the base at the same time the team itself imploded—violently— leaving one dead, two "declared" villains, and the others disappearing into the woodwork. If there were superheroes still at work in the town (and nobody's sure there were any), they were solos, working from the shadows and claiming no credit. The public relations pool for super heroism had been poisoned. Villainy has been a constant minor problem, one the city could ignore or live with until recently. For some reason, lately it's gotten much worse. In what is described by some as a "Hail Mary" play and others as a "big mistake waiting to happen," the mayor has reactivated the base and "gathered" team members from various parts to try to combat the city's problems. There aren't many locals on the team; most locals still remember with shock and horror the epic fail that was the old team. The two locals on the team are young and inexperienced, uncontaminated by the base's history. This is a rich source of subplots for me, because I've got plot threads from the old team's blow-up, a coming re-election plot, a new master-level super villain, a possible issue or two with the base itself, and the baggage the PCs bring into this too.
  21. I'm currently running the "superhero" game in two separate groups, one at the local game store on Thursday nights and the other in a person's basement (so no, that one's not public, sadly). They are their own campaigns, set in different cities, with different cosmologies and different threats facing them. When it came time to set up the first group, many years ago, I had Hero Designer and not a whole lot of experience with 6th Edition. Still, I created serviceable characters for them which they've stuck with for the most part. (It's interesting to note that the one of the players in that group who I had played with before, and knew the most about the Hero System, created the character that most quickly became ungainly and clumsy for him, necessitating a recent switch.) I let them decide what they wanted in their character, and entered their choices in Hero Designer. I got serviceable characters out of that, and they've managed the occasional combat I've thrown at them. Fortunately they're easily amused by the unusual situations I throw at them (currently they're trying to reason out why the CEO of a small security company got car-bombed, how it was done with an explosive so small it fit in the fuel line, and what a pistachio-eating teleporting undead ninja has to do with any of that. Unfortunately they seem a little selfish and cowardly, concerned with what I'm going to throw at them next and how they can defend against it. Let's face it, anyone who feels the need to take Life Support (Eating: Character only has to eat once per year; Immunity: All terrestrial poisons; Longevity: 200 Years; Safe in High Pressure; Safe in High Radiation; Safe in Intense Cold; Safe in Intense Heat; Safe in Low Pressure/Vacuum; Self-Contained Breathing; Sleeping: Character only has to sleep 8 hours per week) and eyeing putting even more points into it is trying to hedge his bets. Group #2 got a little faster start, because by that time I had the Champions genre book. Have you ever taken a good look at that thing? Toward the back there's a collection of templates called the Superhero Gallery, and it contains skill groups, complication groups, and twenty different prefabricated mix-and-match character archetypes. That allowed for faster character creation, except for the one guy who had some idea what kind of character he wanted, and I built that for him. And he seems happy with it. Combine it with the Hero Designer package for that sourcebook, and you can crank out characters pretty darned fast. I will say, though, that neither group really gets it. The one group hangs onto my copy of the Champions Powers book (and the Hero Designer package for that is a must too) and uses it as a power sourcebook instead of a book of worked examples of what the power system is really capable of. They play enough other games that they sometimes forget the whole 11+OCV-3D6=DCV Hit thing, and that they roll 3D6 and aim low to succeed at skills, but what they do for playing the game they still manage to enjoy immensely, almost to command-performance levels. And they are learning how to count Body and Stun, so there's that. And yes, I seriously doubt it's because I'm That Good.
  22. Re: GM Help: That Player I Want to Strangle For those following this thread, confounded by my silence, I hereby respond (yawn alert the media lol): I did have a talk with him. It was, oddly enough, in the minutes before a session of Marvel (TSR Advanced edition) was about to start—and no, someone else was running that. I specifically asked about that "personal army" he wanted. The reason he gave was that one of the other PCs, a wealthy industrialist in his secret identity, occasionally calls upon contacts in his family's company for assays and little bits of examination. And the player was watching anime recently. And the player got jealous. Yes, it sounds logically like the character might be jealous (psych complications: Overconfident, Womanizing), but the player has complained about similar things in other games, how he has the weakest weapons, fewest hit points, and so on and so on ad nauseam, even when he's in the best position of anyone in the group. I need to make him understand that the point-based system is itself a balancing factor: he has things he's paid for (like the 60 STR, supersonic flight, the highest resistant defenses of the bunch, and more life support than even he's found a use for yet), and the other guy has things that he paid for (like 10 points in Wealth, 24 points for the organizational contacts in his family's business and 23 points for a personal Follower). The group has a base (which most of them have bought into) It has some personnel (and given its size, perhaps it needs more). Maybe that's what he's jealous of? (Except the rich character paid 4 points into that. He paid 5. Someone else has paid 15. I may want to encourage more contributions.) Meanwhile, the group's "Sniveler" (for those Cosmic Encounter fans) has the greatest damage potential and highest general defenses of the group. And still wants a personal army. Of women. In maid's uniforms. And the Resurrection adder in addition to his Healing power (which I said yes to briefly, but need to take away because the exception case he gave me is about as common as "the sun not rising in the east"). And the interplanetary spacecraft (and hoo boy, am I looking forward to the story behind that one. ). This is what I've got to work with. In fact, he's not the only one with competition issues. I'd mentioned the base rush earlier; they want private bases and the group's Paranoid wants to put deathtraps in his. And kicking him out would be awkward because of the group's division. Of the four players I've got there, one followed me from a previous group (and among his issues there are some doozies, but that's for another rant). The other three started in a different circle and have stronger ties with each other than with me. Were I to kick the one out, the other two would likely follow.
  23. Sadly, I wish that was an exaggeration. I'm running what I would now classify as a "long-running" Champions campaign. I'd tried to reason out a good bit of the campaign city (Baltimore, 'cos it's what I know), the changes from the event that started giving people superpowers (in 1961), a few organizations that might be working with or against the player characters, and establishing an ecosystem for the characters. And in most of the cases I've done a good job. Of the four regular players, three have settled into that ecosystem and interact with it on reasonably friendly terms. Then there's that fourth. Or as he might be known, that player. He's the one that has looked casually at what the game as I've created it has to offer, yawned, and is trying to sweep it aside for his own amusement, up to and including interplanetary travel in a spaceship/base (he hasn't brought up shag carpeting, mirrored ceilings, revolving beds, or naked lady mud-flaps yet) and a take on the "personal army" best described as a "misogynistic anime geek's wet dream." (Hence the future concerns about shag carpeting, mirrored ceilings, revolving beds, and naked lady mud-flats.) And he's not afraid to make things about him. What's more, he says that these decisions are because of things that happened in the game—it's hard not to ask him "Which, mine or the one you hallucinated?", and it may yet come to that. Tempting as it is to give him what he wants good and hard, much the same way you might feed a six-year-old an entire bag of candy or force a 14-year-old to smoke a whole box of cigars in one sitting, I worry that doing so would be a scorched-earth response; the necessary damage it would do to his character would have repercussions in the game world. Decisions he's made already will have horrible consequences which he has yet to face. What he's planning next And if there's anything I've learned, a good game world is not something you use once and throw away. I think I can be a little more patient with him, trying to figure out where he got these hairpin ideas, but I can see that road running out in the near future. Has anyone else been in this situation? And how did you handle it aside from ending the game (don't wanna), kicking the problem player out (politically tricky), resorting to violence (legally sticky), or running a "Lost in Space" scenario on him (Conveniently forget to mention the Navigation (Space) skill while he's assembling all this, and let him push the button)?
  24. I'd posted here long, long ago to ask a few questions about starting a campaign for unfamiliar players at the local game store. Suffice it to say it's going well; I'm into what I call the second season of the campaign, which means they're wiggling their way through my second major plot arc. I even lured one of the players from the regular D&D games there, so I call it a victory. There is, however, a peculiar vibe that has infected them, and I actually find it rather annoying. One of the PCs started the game with a secret base, little more than a big happy hangout which he uses as a bachelor pad. The team has shelled out a few more points for a second base, a former sanitarium (!) in the campaign city. And I just distributed "wish list" documents—something they could fill in to organize their thinking on how to develop their characters in the future. Two of the other three players have logged their own desire to have their own private bases, in addition to the ostensible "team" base. And the first player, who already has his own base, is thinking about creating a "think tank" which involves a base and a number of rotating followers. I'm trying to think back over what I've done in the campaign, to what might have encouraged this land rush, and I can't think of anything. I also can't figure out how to stop it. Help? Please?
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