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About mallet

  • Birthday February 5

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    Burnaby, BC
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  1. It is also a little of the "chicken or the egg" situation in a lot of cases. In Fiction, do the long lasting empires exist because there are no major technological or social advancements, or are their no major technological and social advancements because the empires are so long lasting and resist/fear change? They sort of feed into and onto each other. Like in physics, objects in motion will stay that way until something else interrupts its motion or direction. What would the USA (and the rest of the world) be like if we had never invented the train, automobile or plane? If everyone still had to get around by horse, boat or on foot? There would be no internet, not gps, no satellites, all long distance communication would still be by letter and take months to reach the person it was sent to. If that was the case, there would still be large areas of the planet we wouldn't know about or only have legends and rumors of. The population would be way smaller, medical breakthroughs would be rare and take decades to spread around the globe. Most people would still be farmers as there would be no quick way to move food large distances before it rotted away. Almost definitely no electricity or power grids in any town or city. We would still be living in a pre-industrial era society, as all those advancements came from easy travel, steam engines, mass production and movement of large amounts materials, resources, and people, etc... and more importantly quickly moving ideas, information and technology from one end of society to another. Someone invents the telegraph and within a few years everyone in the USA can communicate with each other in minutes or hours instead of months. That was only because the trainlines were already in place and allowed the quick building of the telegraph poles and infrastructure along those routes and they could send all the materials needed to the places that didn't have them (metal mining, copper wires, correct tools. None of those were mined or available in most parts of the USA, so all had to be premade/mined and shipped by train to the town and cities along the routes. If they had to send all that by horse-drawn wagon it would have taken decades to build, and probably wouldn't have been done at all. (Of course, without trains and the materials they provided it would be highly unlikely anyone could build a telegraph in the first place as very few places would have all the things needed in one location (metal tooling machines, copper, electricity, education, etc...) for someone to figure it all out.) So it is not impossible to believe that in a world without mass transit, engines, motors, electricity, rapid communication and dissemination of ideas and technology, combined with magic, monsters, wizards, long-lived races reluctant to change, and lets not forget "Gods" that directly interact with the people of the world (at a minimum via spells, divinations, etc... but also potentially direct involvement) that kingdoms and empires would last a lot longer then they do in our world. Plus, "big numbers" are epic and fantasy, even realistic fantasy, should still be larger then life in some regards.
  2. I think in part this would also depend on how "Active" the Gods are in your campaign world. If it is like say, "Dragon Lance" where the Gods actually show up on the planet and interact with the mortals, then there is probably less ambiguity and variation in their names*, while if there is no interaction between the Gods and the mortals, at least none that the mortals can ever fully know, then that could lead to greater variation in their names and details over the centuries as different areas adapt the "myths" to their own evolving beliefs and rituals because they have no direct examples/knowledge of the Gods and what they want/like. *(unless they appear different to each species/race (like Fizban did, but from what I remember the Dark Queen, didn't. She was called the same name by everyone.))
  3. I'll assume you are talking about a Champions campaign. Finding a Premade campaign that will fit with what the players and GM wants out of the game might be difficult. Much easier (and probably better) is to find a premade Adventure that can be tailored to be the first adventure the players go on. And then worry about how the campaign will grow after that. For example, a premade adventure that has the players fighting against a massive alien army might not work so well if all the players are "Daredevil" level heroes, and likewise a premade adventure vs the mafia might not work if all the players are "Thor" or "Iron Man" type heroes. Even better would be if the GM could create the first adventure themselves, and tailor it specifically to the types and Character Point totals of the Heroes the Players create, and their backstories. This would be the most "organic" of situations, and not all that hard to do (especially if you have access to one or more of the villain sourcebooks. Just pick a villain (or team of villains) that are roughly equal or slightly less powerful then the heroes, have them commit a crime that brings the team together to stop.)
  4. This is a bit different then your original concept of "Spells" being purchased like/instead of Equipment, and used similarly. Originally it was buying a sword vs buying a spells that does damage. That is a very specific one for one change/concept. But, mastering the Stealth skill vs casting a "stealth spell" is very different. There is no Stealth item/object a character can buy (normally in a fantasy game) that gives them stealth. It is not an item or object like a sword is. So buying a stealth spell is not the same a buying an item like a sword or a ladder or food. It is one thing to buy an attack spell to replace a sword or bow, or buy a food spell to replace buying rations, but if you can also buy spells to replace all the skills in the game it is going to be very different. First, what will characters spend their xp on? Just stats and skill levels I guess. Very soon everyone is going to have 21's in every stat. And as for the setting, you would see a lot less schools, universities, books, etc... Why learn anything when there is a semi-permanent spell you can just buy and keep for ever pretty much (unless you go out adventuring where it might be dispelled).
  5. This sounds to me like Delayed Effect with a UOO. Here is how I'd build it for a "summoned" sword. Summon Magic Sword: Killing Attack - Ranged 2d6, Delayed Effect (+1/4), Usable By Other (The summoned sword is usable by whoever wields it; +1/2), Grantor can take back power at any time (52 Active Points); OAF (Wizard Staff to cast, physical sword to use; Requires Multiple Foci; -3/4), Gestures (Requires both hands; -1/2), Incantations (-1/4) As per the Delayed Effect rules, all the "summoning" limitations (wizard staff, gestures, incantations) are only used when the spell is first cast earlier on, after that the wizard only activates the spells (half phase action) and the sword appears in his hand. he/she can then give the sword to whoever they want to use it. The Wizard spends 5 END when first casting the spell, then no END until the spell is activated. After that, I am a little bit fuzzy on what happens per RAW. I think that: Once spell is activated, whoever is using the Magic Sword pays 5 END a phase, whether attacking or not, to keep it active. As soon as no one is paying END for the sword it disappears and the Wizard would have to cast the spell again from scratch.
  6. In that case maybe there is a cultural/societal shift that you can add to your game. In bigger cities and towns, maybe there is a "money exchange" at every entrance. When people enter and leave they can first stop by these exchanges and have their coins either changed in to smaller value coins for spending in town, but when leaving to travel, they can exchange their various small coins for fewer larger value coins that are easier to carry (and conceal). For example, the team is leaving a city to go explore an old ruin, they have about 200 SP and 150 CP on them, which is a lot of coins and not only heavy, but also loud to walk around with. So they hit the exchange on their way out of town and get 2 GP and 3 SP. That is a lot easier to transport and hide, while they adventure. When they get back to town, they can trade the GP back in for silver coins to spend in the city.
  7. I always wanted a "power up" Limitation, I know that is probably the wrong terminology for what I will describe next, but it's what I've always mentally called it so far. Basically this is a limitation on how quickly a power reaches full effect, but the power can still "go off" earlier at a reduced amount if the Character decides to use it earlier. For example a Paladin has 6D6 Healing, Laying On Hands power. It has the Power Up limitation on it. So, if he spends one Phase using the power it heals 1d6, if he spends 2 phases it heals 2d6, and so on up to his maximum of spending 6 phases and healing 6d6 on the target. The value of the limitation would be based on how long each time increment is (segment, phase, turn) and how many die it goes up by each increment (1d6, 2d6, etc...) Another example might be a weapon that takes time to reach full power, but that could be used soon at lesser power. For example, Dr. Destroyer has a Destruction Ray that can do 20d6 KA when at full power, but it takes a lot of time to charge the weapon to max. It has the "Power Up" limitation, where it goes up 2D6KA every Turn, so in 10 turns it will reach maximum power and if fired will do maximum damage. But if the Heroes get there in 3 turns, the Ray will only do 6d6KA if fired, so now Dr. Destroyer has to decide whether to just fire the ray now and hope that it will do enough damage to destroy the dam and flood the city, or if he has to fend off the heroes for another 7 turns until the ray is at full power when he shoots it, but risk failing and no shot going off at all if he is stopped before then. Could also be used for energy weapons building in power, or hand-cranked weapons building in tension before being fired. Example, a crossbow that needs the bow cranked up in tension to fire. in it goes up 1d6 a phase, for 2 phases max. If the player only has time to spend one phase cranking up the tension in the crossbow, the bolt will only go half as far and only do 1d6 damage, compared to fully cranked and at max tension when it would go twice as far and do 2d6 damage.
  8. I think it would also depend on how much of that land as "explored" and/or settled (this is a fantasy setting after all). Sure the kingdom might be 370000 square miles large, but (without seeing a map) maybe a huge part of that is a "haunted forest" like Murkwood, and another part is an unexplored mountain range, and then there is the desert wastes where the Burrowing Scorpions keep everyone away, and so on. So maybe 2.5/mile is the "real" average PD for the entire nation, but once you take out all the places people don't live, inhabit, etc... the PD might rise in the areas that remain. For example, if 30% of the kingdom is unexplored/controlled by monsters then your average PD would rise up to 3.5. That said, 3.5 still seems really, really low, just as a thought on it, in most agriculture based areas they have large families because it takes a lot of people to farm any area of land. 2.5 people wouldn't be able to farm a square mile of land. 1 square mile is 640 acres. At the very best on average I could possibly see 1 person being able to handle 7 acers of farming on their own (working 10 hours a day, 7 day a week) so farming a full 1 square mile of farm land would need about 90 people, which when looking at Doug's data show it to be pretty "spot on" with historical averages. Also cities could be surprisingly large in the past. Paris pre-1400 is thought to have had up to 250,000 people living in it (the black plague and wars eventually doped this down to 100,000+ people). London at about the same time had around 150,000 If your kingdom has almost 1,000,000 and at least one major city in it, that might account for 10% of your entire kingdom's population, with probably another 25% in the areas surrounding it to supply all the food needed for a city that large and the safety is provides. That means 35% of your kingdom's population lives in one small area of the major city, and the areas around it. The other 65% take up the rest of the Kingdom. So unless the kingdom has vast, uninhabited areas that seems like a very small population. For another real life example, the size of your kingdom seems to be roughly the size of Germany (Germany being a little bit smaller. Germany = 360,000 miles squared) and according to records Germany had a population around 9 million people between 1300-1400 AD. So a kingdom about he same size as yours had roughly 10 times the number of people in it.
  9. I loved Top Secret SI, and my group played the hell out of it. Sure, looking back on it, the rules were stunningly basic, but we managed to make it fun. What was also great about it was the amount of sourcebooks and adventures put out for it. There were rules for more special forces type missions (Commando), source books on realistic espionage, high tech gadgets and gear books, a box set with a whole setting and advanced rules on gambling and car racing/chases, a source book of what the bad guys master plans were (The Web) and their secret bases and operations around the world, plus some tie-in fiction novels, a couple of which were actually pretty good. And then there was the spin-off games, Agent-13 (pulp era adventuring like with special abilities and mystical stuff. so you could do stuff like Indian Jones or The Shadow and other cool pulp adventuring (plus one of the fiction novels for this was really good)) and then there was also FREELancers (set in the near future (now past) of the 2000's, where technology and mutations and the collapse of American government all came together. It was basically Shadowrun (minus the magic) before Shadowrun came out with a bit of Twilight 2000 thrown in. Super fun.) My main group back then (mid 80's to late 90's) basically went from D&D, to Marvel/FASERIP, to Top Secret/SI, to Call of Cthulhu, to Shadowrun to WoD (Vampire mainly) then to Hero System, to Delta Green, with a few other games/systems thrown in there that never lasted for very long (Rifts, Robotech, Middle Earth, and many more I'm sure I'm forgetting) before everyone eventually ended up moving to different parts of the globe and the group broke up.
  10. mallet


    I would think that 99% of all prisons would be just like normal prisons are currently, mainly because 99% of the population is probably normal people and criminals. The 1% of prisons would "special", probably be Federal or Military ones, as they are the only groups that could afford to run them. Some of those might be "black sites" for the worst of the worst criminals, so terrorists, master criminals, etc... The non-black site prisons would be for famous vigilantes, unusual serial killers, and other major criminals who apparently used special skills or technology in their crimes. Some possible restrictions could be: -Confined to cells 23 hours a day. Only 1 hour a day "in the yard", and only by themselves, no interaction with other prisoners. -Ankle bracelets, like people wear under house arrest, but these also track where the prisoner is at all times, send an alert if they are tampered with or taken off, or if prisoner is somewhere they are not supposed to be, etc... -No access to internet Black sites would possibly be even worse as black sites theoretically don't have to follow federal laws or the Geneva convention.
  11. mallet

    Urban Hero

    Very true. WoD had the "vail" an effect which made normal people rationalize and or forget anything supernatural they came across. In Buffy/Angel people did often learn about it, but just accepted it. Heck all the students at Sunnydale saw and knew of monsters, the newspaper had headlines lines like "Mayor assures us no monsters involved", etc... LA had supernatural nighttime placed over it for days, with demons and monsters running around killing hundreds or thousands of people, then went back to normal. Whole communities and groups knew about Vampires and organized to fight them, and so on. The US government knew about monsters and vampires and was using/recruiting them for missions as far back as WWII. So that was like an "open secret" about the supernatural in that world. Or almost a very cool "in" thing to know about hem and deal with them. There were numerous bars and nightclubs where we saw normal people and demons hanging out together. There was even talk about the LA D.A. using their own shamans to protect the jury during a trial. In Supernatural, thousands of people over the years grew to know about supernatural events and monsters, but I assume most of them only ever encountered something like that one time, and probably rationalized it as a one off event or occurrence never fully realizing how widespread it was. So I guess the easiest way is just not to worry about it. Most of the TV shows never do.
  12. mallet

    Urban Hero

    I had a relatively long running Urban Fantasy campaign a few years back. Magic was "hidden" from regular people, but was lurking in the background. Lots of secret societies, cults, some monsters and cryptoids. Players had mystical/magical powers and abilities. I basically took most of the magical orientated stuff from Champions and put it in its own world with out superheroes, high tech, aliens, etc... So basically just a low powered magic and mystical only Champions. DEMON were the main bad guys and I used the Demon: Servants of Darkness sourcebook extensively for it, but also Mystic World and other groups and monsters out of it. It took a little adjusting to strip out the overtly super hero stuff, etc... but wasn't hard to do and made for a really fun campaign of Urban Fantasy, cults and saving the world from dark magic.
  13. I agree that expecting the RAW rules to provide "balance" is a bad idea, it is up to the GM to provide balance, either through GM fiat or allowing the RAW rules to be bent/broken in certain cases. If a player wants to play a Peasant who is brought along on an adventure with Warriors and Mages. There are two ways the GM can allow that to happen, either have the Peasant character start with a realistic point total to the concept (Normal Human, so like 50 pts or less) while all the other Players are built on 200+ points, but because of GM control of the game, the character is almost never attacked in combat as he/she is not seen as an "immediate threat" by the bag guys; or allow the player to build the character with the same 200+ points, but to break the caps and other "rules" that the rest of the party follow, so in this case maybe at first the Peasant character is allowed to have 10 levels of Combat Luck giving them basically 30 rPD/rED, but also restricting them to doing 1/2d6KA at most with any weapon. Then as the campaign progresses the more they raises their ability to do damage, the more their Combat Luck has to drop, until eventually they are "on par" with the rest of the party in defenses and damage dealing. And as for trying to imitate the LotR, I think that is also a bad idea as it is almost impossible to capture that kind of feeling/storytelling in any RPG, except maybe Amber Diceless. In any other system with fixed rules for attack, damage, phases, turns, skill rolls, etc... you can't really "capture" the magic or feeling of LotR without once again, ignoring a lot of the Caps, RAW rules, etc... I'm mean just look at those books/movies. How often is anyone injured in combat, even these massive wars? Almost never. They either get thorough fine, or they die. Almost never any in between unless it is for plot reasons. Frodo gets stabbed and almost dies, that regents son is badly injured and almost dies so his father wants to burn the body, but then he recovers in time, Frodo again gets poisoned, but rescued, and again Frodo also loses a finger, but I think that's it. Every other "injury" in combat also means the death of the character, Broimier dies, Gandalf dies. Even the Night King, once injured dies, and the Rohdan leader also dies once injured. But in all those other battles, and freaking wars when they are fighting and killing hundreds of enemies each, Aagorn, Legolas, Gimli, Sam, Mary and Pipin never get a scratch of damage. (actually I think Mary gets knocked unconscious once, but only for a few seconds and recovers without injury). So it would be almost impossible to play a game that captures the feeling or scope of LotR without massive GM fiat or by breaking the RAW rules to allow for such play.
  14. Something else that needs to be considered in premade Super Hero campaigns, and especially in premade Hero System Super Hero campaigns, is what powers to warn the GM to not allow. As we've all experienced (and seen in the threads here), two different characters, built with the same number of points, can be vastly different in effectiveness, not only in combat, but in their ability to bypass or overcome challenges. So if the campaign involves a lot of double crossing and deception a character that can Read Minds or Detect Lies is going to ruin a lot of the fun and surprises, or the GM will have to give every Bad Guy tons of mental defense, even if they wouldn't necessarily have it, just to keep the campaign going, but then that nerfs that one character's shtick. So it would be better to have a warning at the beginning of the campaign book, to not allow characters to have that kind of character or power(s) in the campaign, to prevent hard feelings or trouble later on. Same goes if there is a lot of robots and drones and a character builds a cybermancer or technomancer or other build that can control robots and technology. Or numerous other examples. There are so many possible power builds in Champions that could drastically effect the storyline of a premade adventure or campaign that it needs to highlighted and mentioned right from the get-go. Basically the campaign book needs a list of its own extra "Stop Sign" powers at the beginning, to let the GM know what powers and abilities might ruin or disrupt the campaign and then they can make their decisions and discuss with the players before they make characters.
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