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Lord Zod

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  1. Re: Creating a "Turn Undead" Power There's alot I'd like to add to this discussion, so I'll break it down into four parts. 1. There are, of course, dozens of ways to hand "Turn Undead," mechanically. None of these is the one true correct way, but there might be only one way that best fits the "flavor" you're looking for in the campaign. Also there is the fundamental issue of whether this is an ability of the cleric or limitation of the undead, or a combination of both (I see no reason why it should be one or the other. Some undead could be more or less vulnerable to turning while some clerics are better at it than others). With all that in mind, I'd advice any player who wants this ability to talk to the GM about how they want to handle, the same for any power that has implications for the campaign's setting/metaphysics/physics/watchamacallits. 2. I have to ask. Why are so many people suggesting Suppress Summon or Dispel Summon as viable options? Summon is an instant power. You can hold an action to Dispel something that someone is about to summon as they summon it, and you can use Suppress or Drain to remove or weaken a character's ability to summon things. But none of these powers are supposed to work on a creature that's already been summoned. Technically, that would be like using Dispel HKA to restore lost Body and Stun. I don't mean to be rules lawyer here, obviously a GM can allow these powers to affect the ongoing effects of instant powers if he wants to. I just want to point out that this would be that particular GM's houserule, and several people have presented this option as if it were not a houserule, but supported by the rules-as-written. Personally I would consider a house rule like allowing a character with, for example, Dispel Magic to convert their dice of Dispel to an equal active points worth of Mindcontrol (with limited commands "act normally") for countering magical mind control, or RKA for "dispelling" magically created barriers or "banishing" summoned creatures (if they aren't killed instantly then maybe they take damage from being wrenched from the material plane, or from fading from it, but Dispel is an All or Nothing power anyway, so maybe the attack should have to either kill or KO the summon or have no effect, likewise unlike true "Counter" Mindcontrol, a Dispel that fails to break the target free imediately doesn't give him bonuses on subsequent breakout checks). In my opinion, Dispel is a bit underpowered as written, largely because of its limited utility against instant powers. In my opinion, a house rule that gives Dispel free rain to eliminate the ongoing effects of instant powers would make it too good, but my "power substition" house rule beefs it up sufficiently without actually making it superior to limited forms of Mindcontrol and Killing Attack. If you wanted to go further, you could allow Dispel to turn into All or Nothing Healing and use it to Dispel damaging powers after the fact. Sorry if Part 2 has gotten a bit off topic. I think its relevant considering the implications that houserules for Dispel, Drain, Suppress, or Summon could have for a Turn Undead power. 3. Speaking of house rules, the hero gamers in my area and I have been ignoring the rule that only automatons can buy the powers in the automaton section for years. We haven't found it to be unbalancing at all. I don't know if this will change the way any of you think about or use automatons, but to us an automaton is just a character that is immune to presence attacks and mental powers (though we allow mental powers like cyberkinesis and necromancy, that affect "robot class minds" or "undead class minds" to affect them). The trade off is just that an automaton can't think for itself or act independently, and has no everyman skills. No all undead and robots are automatons, and not all automatons are either robots or undead. We've even seen an NPC who was a "philosophical zombie." To all appearances they were human, but just happened to be an automaton. The point I'm trying to make is just to throw my support in with those who have said that one GM's version of the undead doesn't have to be locked into the whole automaton thing. 4. There are many ways to build turn undead, but here's one I don't think anyone else mentioned yet. If people don't like the idea of presence attacks affecting automatons, there's always Drain Presence instead. Automatons have no Ego scores, but they still have Presence scores, and therefore should still be forced to succeed on Presence checks or flee in terror if their Presence scores are reduced to negative values, fleeing automatically if they hit -30 or negative their normal presence (whichever is lower). Wow that was a long post. Sorry for the inconveniance?
  2. Re: How many plots do you have going? My first time GMing a campaign, I had the PCs start a prison break on a ship and run off to become space pirates. I came up with the "brilliant" idea of giving each of the 40 or so NPC prison inmates a name, backstory, and plot hook. And I had 10 PCs, (we have a low gm-player ratio in my area and I couldn't say no) many of whom had multiple plothooks prepared in the their backstory. Between 50 and 60 plotlines starting from day one! As a first time GM, it was a terrible mistake. Only a tiny fraction of those plotlines went anywhere over the course of an year long campaign. For the next campaign I ran I had exactly 2 very straightforward plotlines at any given time; the sidemission of the day and the ongoing arc. It ran alot smoother. Of course the plot was really the least of my problems in the first campaign. The point of the second campaign was really for me to experiment and learn so I could be a better gm. I mostly focused on learning to make balanced encounters and scenarios that are fun for everyone. And learning to say "no" the the players every once in a while. And to not have more than 6 of them. The campaign I'm currently planning will also be a learning experience. I'm going to work on developing more atmosphere and more involved plots and deeper characters. So I'm thinking 4-ish plotlines at once at first and more like 6 -8 when the campaign is in full swing. In some of the campaigns in which I've been a player, the plots threads are so seemlessly interwoven that its hard to say how many "plotlines" there are.
  3. Re: How do you keep your dark knights from going "squish"? Hero has several manuevars to choose from when you absolutely, positively need to not be hit. When in doubt, dive for cover. But none of these manuevars are fool proof, there's always a chance of failure, even with a luck mechanic, power, or houserule. Hero has special effects divorced from mechanics, so there's no reason why a mere mortal has to have low defenses. He could have defenses with the special effect of being so lucky all his hits turn into near misses. But some players are going to insist one playing squishy characters, with low defenses, and putting those points somewhere else. But if the real question is what to do when all else fails, and a player built their character squishy, and got unlucky and got hit by a big attack, then this may be harsh, but I say let them get squished. Sure, its no fun to get knocked out in the opening phase and sit out the rest of the fight. It's also no fun (for many of us anyway) when there's no challenge, no illusion of danger. Failure makes success taste better. Squishy characters as supposed to have to fight that much more intelligently to survive. To me, that challenge is the attraction of playing such a character. They need teamwork and decent tactics to make sure those big guns can't even find them. And with the points they save on defenses, the character should have all the skills and abilities they need to pull that off. The rest is up to the player. This scenario is a bit extreme, but consider, it's also no fun to have to spend points on something the other characters get for free. "Hey everybody, I'm the brick, I bought up my defenses to somewhat above average levels." "Okay brick, your job is to stand there and take punches for us as the villian targets you exclusively for no reason. The rest of us won't buy any defenses at all and spend the points on cool stuff because we know the gm doesn't have the heart to hit us." Yeah, that's example is a little silly, but it really is doing the players a diservice if you show favoritism by having the villains never pick on the little guy regardless of their motivations. If the brick wants to jump in the way and take the hits for his friends (because that really is the bricks job) then let him. But don't make it automatic. When I gm games, I try to make villians fight as dictated by their personalities. Sadistic villains hit people when they are down, vengeful types attack whoever hurt them the most, cowards pick on weaklings, overconfident types attack the most impressive target and ignore everybody else, real crazies pick their targets at random. I don't pull any punches and I let the dice fall where they may, but at the same time, I never use a problem without a solution or an unstoppable foe. Let the players form their own tactics, and use teamwork, ingenuity, and their own strengths, instead of learning to rely on GM mercy to make sure their weaknesses and disadvantages never come up, weaknesses they chose to have in exchange for strength and power in another area. Sorry if that came off a little preachy. I'm just saying, characters have strengths and weaknesses. If a player doesn't like his character's weaknesses, then maybe he shouldn't built the character that way. If its not genre appropriate for this type of character to get knocked around, but the mechanics and the way he's built say he will be, then build him differently to properly emulate the genre.
  4. Re: Hit Locations for Melee (particularly Fantasy/Mediaeval) combat
  5. Re: Re-Imaged Hero(ines) Larry Hawkins lived in a world overrun with so-called superheroes. Where most mere mortals looked up at the sky and marvelled with awe and admiration at the handsome flying men, beautiful soaring women, and shaggy jet-powered apes that defended them, Larry's heart raged with jealosy everytime he looked up in the sky. One day, after a humilating rescue from a burning building by the city's most obnoxious champion, Larry pledged that just as ancient Prometheus had stolen fire from the gods and given it to man, he would steal the power of the superhumans for himself. Applying his technological genius, Larry built a formidable suit of powered armor, capable of siphoning the energy off of superhumans and projecting their own power back upon them. He became the archvillian Promethius. Promethius has defeated several major superpowered criminals, but only because he draws no distinction between them and the heroes he fights. He has deluded himself into believing that he is the people's champion, sticking up for the little guy, striking a blow for all of humanity everytime he knocks another star out of the sky.
  6. Re: God Package... Awesome write-ups, and I loved the story of the Olympians' battle with their Roman clones. I have a nit-picky suggestion on the issue of whether or not the gods actually needed to sleep and eat and such. I seem to recall several stories about gods suffering from various mortal complaints, like lack of food and water, but not ever being able to die to escape from the torture. They get hungry and need to eat to maintain their comfort, but can never starve to death. Similarly, they get drunk all the time, but you couldn't kill them with poison. A fellow PC in my current game plays a character based on the ancient mariner. He's not exactly a god, but he's in a similar situation in that his immortality grants him greater opportunity to suffer. He has Life support Immortality which functions as normal, but his other tricks, like Doesn't Eat, Doesn't Sleep, Doesn't Breath, etc, all have the limitation (-2 by our group's consensus) that they only prevent him from losing his last point of stun, endurance, body, or whatever. He doesn't need air to breath, but without it he could hover at 1 end and 1 stun forever. He'll be mad with hunger, but never actually collapse from starvation. Can't starve him, dehydrate him, straggle him, or poison him to death, but by the time your done trying you can knock him over with a feather. I think that's in the spirit of the myths. Okay, it was just a thought, back to your regularly scheduled divine slugfest!
  7. Re: Quote of the Week from my gaming group... An old one from our retired Sci-Fi game. The PCs had taken an orc alive, stripped him of his weapons and armor, and brought him back to their ship to interrogate him. PC: "Allright scumbag, you're going to tell us everything, troop positions, attack plans, everything. Lets start off with exactly how many trucks you have." The literal minded orc's confused response: "Ha, you fool, I have no trucks, I am naked!" That line has been repeated within the group many times since. Eventually they got out of him that there were more trucks than he could count on his fingers and toes, but if each of his fingers and toes was a hand itself, then all of their combined fingers would be equal in number to the number of trucks his tribe possessed. You would think that the PCs would have been more grateful, what with him independently inventing multiplication just for their benefit.
  8. Re: I need a function! The Magelleanic Shroud Ancient earth astronomers once called these the Magelleanic Clouds, believing them to be satellite galaxies to our own Milky Way. In 3095 AD, the first human made space probes to visit the Magelleanic Shrouds discovered that they were not clusters of stars, but infact the largest holographic projections ever concieved, each one stretching many light years in diameter and producing emissions designed to duplicate the readings one would detect from actual satellite galaxies. Scientists have speculated for decades over what ancient and technologically powerful alien civilization could have produced the machine which generates these holograms, and why, but the source of the projection has never been discovered In 3124 AD, unmaned probes revealed that the holograms hide the dead bodies of two immense creatures, floating just outside of our galaxy. The term Magelleanic Shroud, coined by the press, has been used to refer to the projections ever since. The origin of these creatures, their age, the cause of their deaths, and how they could have grown so large, and how they did so without being crushed by their own gravity, are all mysteries that we can only hope will be answered by future generations. Next: The Iambic Fossil Scoop
  9. Re: The Character Idea Thread I have a few suggestions for the swarmbots but they're all a bit odd. Perhaps you could use Multiform and the Requires Multiple Users limitation. A group of swarm bots gather in one place, activate the power that they all bought and then cease to exist, replaced by their more powerful multiform. They could buy several multiforms of varying power requiring varying numbers of users. Duplication might be a bit less clunky, but there is the problem of the original sticking around when the duplicates are made. Another solution would be to give all of the little swarm bots the power Summon Big Swarm Bot, with the limitation Requires Multiple Users and the Major Side Effect "character dies when power is used." Then give the big swarm bots the power to summon a horde of little swarm bots, with the same side effect limitation, but without multiple users. Okay, all three of those ideas are a little weird. My favorite is summon, which is argueably the weirdest, but I think it would be the easiest to run.
  10. Re: Quote of the Week from my gaming group... Yeah, Rocky was played by Fireg0lem, who also happens to be the helpful Player B in my quote above. It sounds like a silly idea to use the "monster" from the Rocky Horror Picture Show as a big dumb brick in space pirate game, but he was actually one of the more enjoyable characters from that game. Even if he did end up unbalancing the game fairly badly, through no fault of Fireg0lem's. He had a habit of leaping into clusters of enemies and detonating grenades, without taking them out of the bandolier on his chest. We almost had to change his name to Captain Collateral Damage Came up with a lot of fun quotes too. "Excessive force is never enough" has becom an often repeated slogan in our group Dr. Zaius, looking over test results: "Well son, you are what we call a Frank, which means..." Rocky: "My name is Rocky, not Frank." Dr. Zaius: "Nice to meet you, son, I'll talk slower." "Hello, my name is Rocky, but it is also Frank." "Dr. Zaius says that I have a special power called 'Brain Damage'" "Yes, Rocky has object permanence" And who can forget his battle cry of... "Koala!" Fireg0lem, Onyxclaw, and Roy the Ruthless all played in that game, and their characters ended up forming a rock band. There must have been some good quotes involved in that. Onyxclaw, do you remember any of your song titles?
  11. Re: Quote of the Week from my gaming group... This is from a sci-fi space opera campaign I ran, that just came to a close a few weeks ago. The orginal premise was that the PCs would escape from a prison ship in the first session and then become space pirates, but since I wanted to give the PCs a lot of freedom in deciding the course of the game, they turned out to be more like freelance mercenaries than pirates. The campaign lasted about a year, and this happend after about 9 months. The PCs have just finished a particularly long mission and are looking for work. Some of them start talking about maybe getting a letter of mark to do some privateering. Player A: "I couldn't do that. If we're going to turn into a bunch of pirates, my character will strike out on his own and I'll just have to quite the game or make a new character or something. It's against everything he believes in." Me: Stunned Silence. Player B: "Um... Player A, the GM originally pitched this to us as a game about being space pirates." Player A: "Yeah, I know, but I forgot about that when I made my character." Now I look back on that and laugh, but I swear, at the time it was like he smacked me in the head with an axe.
  12. Re: Simplification of Combat I'm not a big fan of M&M, myself. There are some good ideas in there, but on the whole I found the rules to be a bit unbalanced. There were just to many holes for my taste. And I just hated that whole Damage Save thing. But to each his own. As for these proposed changes, I can certainly see how they would speed up combat. For people who have a problem with slow combats it would certainly be handy. I was once stupid enough to gm a weekly game for 10 players, and some combats were a nightmare. One giant shoot out lasted about 3 phases of game time and 4 hours of real time. On the other hand, I personally find these changes to be a bit too radical for my tastes. I like the hero systems tactical approach to combat, with all its manuevars and options, and some of the things you suggest to cut are a big part of that. And the concern about Hero losing too much of its identity if you change it that much is really a genuine concern for alot of players. Running a combat with those rules just wouldn't feel like Hero to me. I like that "Hail of Mookfire" rule, I think I might try it some time.
  13. Re: Science Familiarity Chart? I don't want to stray to far from the original topic, but I thought you might be interested in hearing about some other alternate ways of dealing with science skills. I saw a talent called Universal Scientist posted on this website. I'm sure some of you are already familiar with it. http://www.globalguardians.com/houserules/houserulesindex.php The website had a new talent to go along with all of the groups of skills that have skill enhancers. It's the same idea behind Universal Translator. Another alternative that I'm familiar with was recently devised by fireg0lem, for a game he's about to start up. He created it in order to encourage characters to become superscientists and superscholars while still allowing them to specialize in different fields and leaving them with plenty of points for superheroing, because it's just that kind of world. To that end it isn't grounded in realism quite so much as your system, but it's working out so far for its intended purpose. He's abolished skill enhancers all together, and the language relation chart no longer has an effect on point cost, though people can still understand languages related to the ones they know if there are 3 or 4 pts of similarity. He uses a doubling system for knowledge and science skills. 2pts gets you 9+(INT/5) with one science skill. Every additional 2pts doubles your number of science skills. So for 4pts you get 2, for 6pts you get 4, and so on. Before long you're Doc Savage. You can also swap out 9+(INT/5) with one skill for Base 8 with two skills, but the gm discourages doing this past a certain point because it starts to get silly. Knowledge skills work the same way. Languages (in case you're curious) work the same way, if you replace "9+(INT/5)" with "Idiomatic, Native Accent (the 4pt level)" and replace "Base 8" with "Fluent Conversation (the 2pt level)." All of this, of course, might be of no use to you whatsoever. It wouldn't work so well in a more realistic setting. But sharing ideas sometimes leads to interesting results, so I thought I might as well toss it out there. Good luck designing your Science Familiarity system. It sounds like it has alot of potential.
  14. Re: "To Protect and Annoy" I seem to remember that there were a lot of great lame superheroes in the recent X-Force series. The one with Mr. Sensitive as teamleader. The whole team existed more to get publicity than fight crime. Can anybody remember any of their lame recruits and rivals? Marvel also put out a book called the Craptacular B-sides,. Ofcourse The Tick is a never ending source of not-so heroic heroes. In addition to the Civic-minded Five, mentioned above, there was a superhero team in The Tick comic which Tick and Arthur joined. It's roster included Rubberducky, a stretching type, and a character I think was called The Runner. He's as fast as 10 fast men.
  15. Re: "To Protect and Annoy" A while back I was in a Iron Age superheroes one shot game. The PCs were a superhero team commissioned by the US government called Strykeforce. We spell it with a Y because its dumber that way. A super-powered terrorist hacker called Hato caused a space station prison full of supervillians to crash into France and our team was sent in to mop up. The government sanctioned french heroes accused us of violating France's sovereignty. The French Heroes Vitesse = The french superman, taken down in one shot by Ripper, a villian with knife and lots of findweakness. La Triumph = A flying brick, other than the flight he's the french version of The Thing. Never did anything note worthy other than being torn in half by a supervillian's giant scythe. Dragonseal = An annoying arrogant French version of the Humantorch. I think he was the teamleader. Set me and half of Paris on fire but never got a successful shot off against the enemy. Got blown up by antimatter. All together they were completely ineffective and just got in the way, but the characters in Strykeforce were alot more wrong. Twitch = Roy the Ruthless's character, the Flash on crack. His primary attack was to smash himslef into his opponent at supersonic speed, then regenerate from paste. Abondoned us at one point to eat a sandwich, but saved the day in the end. Paragon = My character. Somewhere between spiderman and Superman, with the brain of Reed Richards. He was the team's frontline fighter and therefore spent most of the game unconscious. But worst of all was Hida Tsuzua's character, John Ashcroft. He had mental powers and fought by summoning captured brainwashed terrorists to charge at the enemy and blow themselves up. He died.
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