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Killer Shrike

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Everything posted by Killer Shrike

  1. I'm a big Fate fan, but I've not checked it out specifically. While I have much love for Fate and Fate Accelerated, it doesn't quite do it for me when it comes to supers. I'm fully familiar with how to "solve" for superheroes using that system and even did some modeling along those lines back when I got into Fate in the first place, but for narrative supers I greatly prefer Cortex Plus Heroic (better known from its turn backing Marvel Heroic Roleplaying) or the more recent evolution of it in the form of Cortex Prime. I also really like the very similar Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game; I've not yet been able to play at the table but I really dig the game design.
  2. I've not found martial / caster disparity to really be a problem in the Hero System. As others have mentioned, characteristics, Talents / Super Skills, and gear offer plenty of design space for non-casters to be impressive or extraordinary. Here's some materials I provided back in the day for Fighters, Rogues, and other D&D type classes suggesting various ways to model common tropes, but it's not hard to dial in the awesome for non-casters using the tools provided by the system.
  3. The ones you list that I'm familiar with: Brave New World - I owned it and a couple of its supplements, never played it. Good production values, but not a very good system IMO. Aberrant - Skimmed it, did not care for it at all (system or setting), never played it. Guardians - Heard of it. Not into "retro-clones" / OSR per se...I played "old school" D&D when it wasn't old at all and don't have nostalgia-colored lenses re: early days of game mechanics. Wild Talents - read the books (based on a Superworld rpg campaign, supposedly), owned the GURPS supplement, played very briefly in a Wild Talents game run by someone or other. In a roundabout way Wild Talents is what led me to the Hero System back in the day so while I did not care for the game itself, it is partially to thank for me finding a system I've gotten several decades of enjoyment out of...so there's that. Truth & Justice - I'm familiar w/ PDQ but if I were in the mood for that style of game I'd probably just use Risus or Fate which are pretty similar at root. Sentinels Comics RPG - I own the deluxe leather bound version and have made some characters with it. Pretty similar to Cortex Plus Heroic (and Cam Banks is credited among others on SCRPG so no big surprise there) with some intriguing additions and a semi-random character generation system that I actually don't hate...brought back happy memories of randomly generating characters using FASERIP Marvel + Ultimate Powers Book. I'm a huge Cortex Plus Heroic / Cortex Prime fan, and also a big Sentinels of the Multiverse card game fan, and enjoyed the afternoon I spent messing around w/ Sentinels Comics RPG. I hope to be able to play a small session using it at some point if the stars align. I recommend checking it out.
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map–territory_relation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_(fallacy)#Fallacy_of_misplaced_concreteness Hexes are an abstraction, notable only because they were found an a type of battlemat commonly available at the time the game was created, primarily for wargames but usable in an rpg context as well. The three basic choices were square grid, hex grid, no grid (use a measuring tape). Square grids have an odd pixelation effect on movement and AoE abilities and facing is difficult to manage. Hexes are not immune to this but lessen the effect considerably and offer a compelling advantage over squared grids for those who require a little more precision. At the time, most miniatures available were somewhere between 22mm and 32mm in scale (though exceptions existed at both ends), with a sort of happy middle ground between 25 and 28mm. Layered over that were some practical considerations, such as the size of the typical battlemat, which itself was driven by the size of the typical playing surface, and the desire for some extra space around the board for character sheets, books, dice, drinks, snacks, elbows, et al, and you get a reasonable approximation of 2m (a common approximation of the height of an adult male human) per hex as a working general model. From there, if you are writing a game that you fully intend to be played on a hex battlemap at 2m per hex, then it seems like a convenient shortcut to just measure all distances in hexes within the rule text including weapon ranges, movement, general measurement of distances (yeah yeah, its 125 feet tall...how many hexes is that?), and so on. Unfortunately, this shortcut is founded on a big assumption, and as all decisions based upon an assumption it is a wrong decision whenever the founding assumption is not true. To wit...people who don't use a tactical map at all are encumbered by the hex concept which has no bearing at all to their non-tactically mapped game resolution. The introduction of megascale to the rules, useful for things like space based games particularly, would greatly prefer a tactical map that deals in something a bit more practical to them than 2m. Vehicles and supers with high mobility quickly make a farce out of the distance available on the tactical battle map, easily traversing off the edge and requiring hand waving or a reset...but if only the abstraction of the hex lines drawn on the map were decoupled from the amount of real distance they are meant to represent and from the rules text that needlessly expresses itself in that coupling, this logical flaw just falls away. And it should be obvious, but I'll point out that you can choose to continue to treat hexes as 2m increments the same as you ever could. Decoupling the tactical map representation from a unit of measurement did not take away your ability to continue to use your trusty battlemat or what have you in exactly the same way as you ever did. What it accomplished is allowing you to also scale your representation as necessary or desired. For instance, perhaps for MOST conflicts you treat 1 hex as 2m, nothing has changed for you, but to do an aerial battle or a naval engagement or a car chase thru a city or a battle between giant mechs you shift the scale and for that resolution treat 1 hex as 5m, and for a small intimate battle in a tight space you change the scale for that engagement to 1 hex is 1m. It gives you much more control over the tactical representation for a given conflict. Think of it algebraically; replace all references to hexes with the variable "x" (just delete he- and -es from the word so to speak). Let x = whatever number you want it to be to suit your current playing surface and the action being resolved there on. Personally, I prefer playing the game at 1 hex = 1m for typical heroic conflicts where the characters involved are basically mundane, but for conflicts where people have high mobility, it can be useful to zoom out a bit and handle it at 1 hex = 2m or more. I prefer to shift along 1, 2, 5, 10 per hex and anything beyond that I would tend to handle abstractly (not on a tactical map) unless there was a strong reason to do so. I tend to just hand wave megascale movement as being effectively non-tactical. As a practical exercise, get a piece of blank grid paper; it doesn't matter if it is hex or square, and draw a rpg map of whatever. One of the first things you need to decide on is the scale. Does one grid unit equal 5 feet or 10 feet or 100 feet? You make this decision every time you take out a new sheet of grid paper and start to draw; you may have a default scale that you sort of auto-decide, but the choice is there and you can make a decision based upon what you are trying to represent vs force yourself to draw everything at a uniform scale even if it takes 50 sheets of graph paper taped end to end to do it. A representation of distance on a tactical map is an abstraction. A precise unit of measurement is a concretion. By coupling an abstraction that was only true in a specific context to a concretion that was entirely arbitrary was a bit of a mistake by the original game designer(s) which no doubt seemed reasonable and intuitive at the time but in retrospect was unnecessarily limiting, but to compound the mistake by doing it at a ratio (1:2 hex:meter in this case) compounded the mistake. If it had at least been 1:1 then it would have been little more than a quirky label (this game calls meters "hexes", oh well no big deal) or possibly even a useful abstraction unto itself (a hex is whatever distance it is defined to be in a campaign's guidelines). Instead it was a unnecessary anchoring of a not-necessarily-a-tactical-game-system to a tactical battle map.
  5. Personally, I prefer multiple magic systems in a Hero Fantasy setting because I feel it offers additional opportunities for character differentiation and highlights one of the Hero System's strongest features. In general it can be difficult to balance different means of empowerment against one another in a given context such as a setting, particularly if those means of empowerment are implemented as orthogonal sub-systems of arbitrary rules. The Hero System and similar game systems influenced by it (or independently evolved) that have a strong notion of separation between fluff and mechanic and a common unified effects model provide a lot of lift to overcome that difficulty. And so on...I don't have time to wax loquacious on generalities, so I'll forbear further abstraction for now and move on to specifics. The various Fantasy Hero magic systems I offer are meant to be used either together or separately. Some are better for particular power levels or tones, some are more suited to be used as general systems while others are more niche, and some are more by-the-book while others introduce custom mechanics or some structured hand-wavium. However, they are all basically compatible. As an exercise in dogfooding, back in the days when I was building the bulk of those systems, I made the custom setting of San'Dora with a meta goal of including every single one of those magic systems in one setting. I taped together a bunch of blank paper to make a blank map and drew in a centralized Mediterranean like coastline then passed the otherwise blank canvas around the table of my players at the time and they each extended the map's coastlines, delineated continents, added mountain ranges, forests, rivers, and further geographical embellishments. I then had them each make a list of their favorite genre sources and concepts (books, movies, comics, whatever) and each list 3 things they wanted incorporated into the setting, etc. Then I synthesized all of that into various ages and peoples to incorporate all of it and assigned various magic systems to different cultures, influencing the nature of those cultures and their histories based upon the qualia and power level of their native magic systems. And so on and so forth. This fed back into the magic design, inspiring many of the variants and specializations within the broader systems. Thus, the various magics systems and their relative power levels, tone, etc, actively influenced that particular setting and vice versa, which results in a grounded / organic feel, reinforces cultural notions within the setting, suggests / drives historical detail, and generally acts as an important part of the worldbuilding process. I would recommend a similar approach be taken to ground your chosen magic system(s) and other means to empowerment such as religious and knightly orders, martial styles, significant professions, and so on directly into your setting. And to be clear, not just the superficial "now" of your setting, but from the bottom up starting at the foundation of the setting's conceptual core, layering thru the history / back story thereof unto the present / current era where play will begin. Having taken this approach, a rich tapestry of character origins with verisimilitude and internal consistency will present itself from the resting state of your worldbuilding rather than being no more than a bullet list of tacked on, bolted together choices lacking resonance or contextual relevance. And finally to get maximally specific: my Metier, Runecrafting, and Totemic Shamanism systems all work together reasonably well and I would not expect you to encounter any special problems if you allowed all three. The one caveat there is, as mentioned somewhere in the Runecrafting documentation, as a magic system that revolves around making magic items, you should first work out how you plan to handle magic items in your setting before deciding to incorporate Runecrafting as the assumptions I made when designing that system are based upon how I handled magic items (also documented on the site) which may differ from your assumptions / preferences.
  6. I've allowed Regen Stun using the APG option for many years; feels pretty good and intuitive in play. Also Regen per Segment, which is quite strong but allows for certain cinematic / genre tropes which per Turn never quite jived with for my preferences. Things like: 30 Lycanthropic Regeneration : Regeneration (2 BODY per Segment), Can Heal Limbs, Per Segment (APG), STUN Also (APG) (+1/2) (61 Active Points); Does Not Work On Some Damage ([Common attack]; Damage From Silver; -3/4), Perceivable (by Supernatural Awareness; -1/4)
  7. For heroic / gritty levels of play, I normally apply a skill maxima across the board, which incidentally applies to magic systems that require skill rolls. Skill Maxima is one of the rows in my "Assumptions" checklist I use for various campaign settings; you can see it in detail along w/ links to various "paradigms" such as High / Epic / Low fantasy, and a worksheet for you to fill in your own if you wish, here: http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/campaignParadigms.aspx And here is an example from an actual campaign: Assumptions The following options are assumed to be in effect for this paradigm. Option Selected Option No NCM X NCM Powers Available O Powers Not Available Super Skills Available O No Super Skills Available Combat Luck Allowed X No Combat Luck Allowed No Deadly Blow Allowed O Deadly Blow Allowed Literacy Standard X Literacy Not Standard No Weapon Familiarity X Weapon Familiarity No Armor Familiarity X Armor Familiarity No Transport Familiarity X Transport Familiarity No Skill Maxima 14- Skill Maxima No STR Minima X STR Minima Superheroic CSL Conversion X Heroic CSL Conversion No Encumbrance X Encumbrance Knockback X Knockdown Generalized Damage X Hit Location Damage No Long Term Damage X Injury & Impairment Damage Normal Damage Default X Killing Damage Default No Long Term Endurance X Long Term Endurance END Cost = Active Points / 10 X END Cost = Active Points / 5 Equipment Costs Points X Equipment Doesn't Cost Points* Bases & Vehicles Cost Points X Bases / Vehicles Don't Cost Points* Followers Cost Points X Followers Don't Cost Points* *Resource Pools as described in the Starting Character guidelines are in effect O: By Origin X: Selected @Mr. RNote: as you are interested in using my Metier magic system, it might be relevant for you to know that I consider it to be a low to mid power level magic system and suggest it as being serviceable for Sword & Sorcery and Epic type settings.
  8. This is the House Rule I've used for Dispel in various settings...works for me but YMMV: DISPEL (5e & 6e) DISPEL DICE OF EFFECT + DICE ROLL When used as per the rules, Dispel suffers from point disparities which generally result in a Dispel ability either being very narrowly defined and corner case, or so encumbered by advantages that the dice of effect are too low to be reasonably capable of affecting equivalently pointed target abilities. Due to this lack of teeth, Dispels are rarely ever actually taken by player characters, unless their cost can be subsumed into a Multipower or Variable Power Pool, and in general Dispels tend to go unused during play as they hardly ever work vs creditable opponents. This house rule allows a reasonably defined Dispel with some degree of Expanded Effect to still be viable vs abilities with equivalent Active Points. Dispel grants a base effect equal to the number of dice the character has in Dispel, plus the roll. Thus a 6d6 Dispel confers +6 points of automatic effect, while a 12d6 Dispel confers +12 points of automatic effect, and so on. ABORT TO DISPEL Even though Dispel has a defensive use (countering attacks before they can take effect), the Power is not flagged as a "Defensive" ability, and is flagged as an "Attack". The rules more generally allow a character to Abort to a defensive action, but does not allow characters to Abort to an attack. It has been a long standing house rule of mine that a character can abort to a Dispel if it would protect them from harm. A character with a relevant Dispel can Abort to Dispel an incoming attack that would harm them.
  9. Doesn't have to be a Drain vs a Skill Roll. Penalties to Skill Rolls and how long or under what conditions they apply are entirely in GM's discretion land (see rules on Skill Modifiers, generally). Obviously scope, degree, and duration considerations apply here, as does consideration of combat vs non-combat impact. For instance a cumulative -1 penalty to Preciat that lasts for a Day per failed RSR: Preciat or a cumulative -1 penalty to all 3d6 resolutions made by the caster that lasts until the end of the current combat per failed RSR: Preciat might both be appropriate as a Minor Side Effect but have different ramifications. If one must mechanic absolutely every little thing however, 5th edition also offered the notion of Negative Skill Levels as a kind of No Range, Constant, END costing custom power that could be applied to a target to impose a skill penalty. One could model a 0 END Persistent version of such as an SE effect if one were so disposed. I likely wouldn't bother as I'm not uncomfortable using GM's discretion for this sort of thing, but it's an option.
  10. So...I think you are referring to my Metier magic system, and the Preciat style specifically? http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/MagicSystems/metierStyles.aspx I'm going to assume the answer is yes, and proceed. Note: I'm going to refer to Side Effects as SE and Requires Skill Roll as RSR throughout to save typing. A few things: 1) In both 5e and 6e Minor SEs (such as what the Preciat style has) are 15 AP not 30 AP... 2) SE paired with an RSR occur when the skill roll is failed (unless the Always Occurs modifier to SE is also applied). In the case of Preciat and other Metier Styles that take a SE that is not also Always Occurs, the RSR is the corresponding required Metier Style skill, and thus the SE only occurs if that RSR fails. 3) You can do a lot of things with Side Effects, not just inflict damage. Personally, I like self-referential SE's which tie back to the thing that caused the SE; in the case of magic use diminishing the caster's ability to cast further magic has a nice feedback loop component. An obvious one is a temporary penalty to the Metier Style skill itself for a period of time...dialing the penalty amount and the unit of time to suit your preferences or the situation. For endurance using magic systems I liked to use a fatigue based model. I used Long Term Endurance rules generally in most of my Fantasy Hero campaigns, and piggy backed on that for magic systems that used END. But a Drain based option also works. Anyway, I describe both approaches in detail in the following document: http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/HighFantasyHERO/GeneralSpellRestrictions.aspx#SideEffects You could also define a cross-cutting ambient notion (such as ley lines or Darksun-like defilers, or what have you) and have SE do something like deplete the ambient magic of the local area for some period of time...you could go further and tie it into Change Environment to apply a flat penalty to something within the affected area. And so on. But, there's an entire section in the SE write up talking about all the various creative things one can bend SE to do for a reason. IMO "takes damage" is the least interesting / least creative / least useful option. If you put a little thought into it, you can use SE on a magic system or individual spell type effect to dial up the flavor and feel of that particular type of magic. 4) The GM is explicitly told they can adjust the impact of SE to suit their campaign. So, if even after considering the above points and possibly settling into a version of SE that isn't just "you take a lot of no-defense damage and maybe die", you still feel like SE is to punitive for your tastes...just turn the dial a bit to ratchet it down. This is how I approach universal "toolkit" type systems, and Hero in particular... I hope some part of this response is helpful, and I'm glad to hear people are still using my Fantasy Hero material...let me know if you encounter any specific things you have questions on and I'll try to answer them.
  11. In my D&D 3e to Hero 5e conversion I settled on 15 points per "level" equivalent. http://www.killershrike.com/FantasyHERO/Conversion3e/Conversion3eStep1.aspx I'm assuming you are referring to figureds as being "free" in 5e, while in 6e they are not but you get a commensurate # of starting points. That shouldn't really affect characters post initial creation; set the starting points as you see fit accommodating 6e's adjusted baseline, and after that things should proceed basically the same; the amount of XP earned per session didn't materially change between 5e & 6e and post character creation progression is basically unaltered between the two editions. As to something a bit more proactive, the approach that I've used for the past 37 years of gaming across every system I've ever played, GM'd, or had more than a passing interest in, is to just sit down and make characters for that game. There's no better way, IMO, to learn the ins and outs of a game than to simply make a lot of characters, perhaps running them thru little mini combats or challenges here and there, comparing them to sample characters and opposition, etc. Similarly when converting between game systems, the best approach is to have some goal in mind as to what you are trying to preserve from the source game and what aspects of the target game you feel will somehow improve the overall experience of gaming in the setting and concepts of the source material, and start making characters that have some meaning to you making sure to retain the essence of those characters while showing off the features of the target game system that you feel enhance, improve, or model those characters better than the source system was able to. You work within the constraints of the target system's balancing scaffolding (points in the Hero System, levels or careers or some other point buy mechanic in other systems, and so on), and find the sweet spot(s) wherein you can express the concepts and characters from the source material without overrunning the bounds of the target system. So, I would suggest you just sit down with some characters you want to convert into 6e and "just do it". After you are done, twiddle and tweak to align the characters to point bounds, look for patterns, etc, and settle on a scale that feels right to you. Personally, were I to sit down and redo my old 5e Fantasy material for Hero System 6e I would use the same general model I settled on for Here There Be Monsters, my urban fantasy setting, just replacing the modern gear list with a fantasy gear list (etc); it's 6e based already, the magic systems I defined for it work, the resource pool model I built it around works, and it's been played in enough to have the sharper edges worn down. Might be worth your attention.
  12. Sorry, I missed this. I've not sat down to do the math, but I basically agree w/ eeprj24. If I were to sit down to possibly tweak the guidelines I would naively expect it to be basically a wash up front, and then just convert a character of each class at 1st, 10th, and 20th level using the conversion as is, and if I found that I was consistently coming up short on points (and by how many) then I would make an adjustment to the guidelines.
  13. Ya, I make use of print and screen css media tags in my various export templates; such as:
  14. If you are determined to have PDF's, you can use any of the html based exports for HD, and then "print to PDF" from a browser. Depending on which browser you use the exact labels will vary, but its pretty basic functionality to "print" targeting a PDF format which results in a pdf file being distilled. Joey Manegarm.pdf
  15. Here's how I did it for my MetaCyber campaign back in the day: http://www.killershrike.com/MetaCyber/MetaCyberCharacters_BodyTech_Cybernetics_Skills.aspx
  16. I own some of the game books and have (attempted) to read them, but just can't get into it. Bounced off multiple times.
  17. Quite impressive. I hope to one day, towards the end of my life once the kids are up and out and so forth, construct for myself a Victorian library within which to while away my twilight years. You, sir, are an inspiration. Bravo! 👏
  18. I used them all (and others) in a campaign setting back in the day _in theory_ but not all of them actually made an appearance "on camera" so to speak. Many of the example characters are of that setting, actually. Long story short, it is viable but exercise GM discretion as you go. You might also want to look at the Here There Be Monsters content as I reworked some of those magic systems (and introduced new ones) in that context. http://www.killershrike.com/HereThereBeMonsters/Origin_Mystic.aspx
  19. Agreed. This was part of my 5th edition character creations guidelines for "Champions Universe" superheroes...were I to run a 6e supers campaign in the CU I would just update this and go. Setting is a separate Dimension For reference purposes, the Champions Universe setting as described in the 5th edition era as used by me can be referred to as CU5-KS1 and by the book Champions Universe can be referred to as CU5. The official Champions Universes of today (5th edition) and yesteryear (1st thru 4th edition) can be thought of as alternate dimensions in classic Comic Book style. A few key deviations between CU5 and the CU5-KS1 dimension: Magic is not the seed of all superpowers. The Champions went missing a year ago. No one seems to know where they went. This isn't necessarily a campaign plot point, I just wanted them out of the way so that the PC's can have the stage. Their base and other accoutrements are in the care of Dr. Silverback in the meantime. The smart chips used in MC are not generally known about by anyone, even most cops. Turakian Age, Valdorian Age, Terran Empire, Galactic Champions, and other published settings are not in the same timeline as CU5-KS1. Campaign morality is a little darker than CU proper. Not Iron Age dark, but a little grittier. People do get killed, and Killing attacks are used from time to time. Killing people as a hero will result in legal action and/or issues with other non-lethal heroes.
  20. Thx for the reminder; my memory of earlier editions' minutia fades as the years roll by. I'll correct the response.
  21. There's an example of a Aid + Drain combo power on page 197 of 6e, and the Advanced Players Guide II also talks briefly about Transfer type constructs in its section on Drain. I haven't looked at 5e or 5er in a long time but I would guess there's a fair chance that the one in 6e was copy & pasted from the 5e text and such an example can be found somewhere in the black & green era books as well. (edit: Transfer was still an official thing in 5e) It's also trivial to just add Transfer as a base Power to your 6e games if you want to; refer to the Creating New Powers section in the back of 6e vol 2. You can either port the ability directly over from an earlier edition and handwave it away or be a little more rigorous and build it back up from Drain + Aid as you prefer...it amounts to very little difference in the end. The Hero System is a toolkit system after all, not a holy text. It has an entire section in the rules describing how to change or expand the rules to use the building blocks it offers to model what you want. As far as something like the classic Rogue power, there is a multi-column write up for a Transference Touch ability in the back of the Champions Powers supplement. It's based on Multiform and Transform to get a more absolute / across the board effect rather than Drain and Aid. As with many things in the Hero System, there's more than one way to skin a cat. It might be a good pdf for you to pick up if you are getting back into the Hero System; the weird stuff chapter in the end in particular (where Transference Touch is provided) may be of interest to you. here's the preamble...
  22. I did not play the original Top Secret, but I did own Top Secret / SI plus the green boxed set (high stakes something or other) and many of the supplements back in the day, and ran and also played it via a series of linked together one shots or bursts of sequential session in a loose sort of campaign with the main group I ran w/ in high school, interwoven amongst the handful of other rpgs we were playing back then. I don't remember a lot of details as it has been many years, but I do remember liking the percentile dice resolution, the vehicle cards, dossier style character sheets, and so on. The ORION vs WEB metafiction was fun, and me and another gamer in the group had a good time coming up with colorful characters; the other person was into Bond and similar lighter spy fare while I was more into John le Carre type stuff, but between the two of us we somehow managed to find a workable middle ground. The other players weren't that into the spy genre per se, but liked the modern action / violence aspects of it. It definitely had an influence on my gaming style and preferences for gritty but cinematic modern action in rpgs, and I'm glad I got to experience it.
  23. Mike Patton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Patton https://consequenceofsound.net/2014/05/turns-out-mike-patton-and-not-axl-rose-is-the-greatest-singer-of-all-time
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