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massey last won the day on June 5

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  1. For fire and electricity, I usually give it a -1. Those are the "real world" energy attacks you'd be likely to encounter, though of course lasers and generic blaster energy comes up a lot in comic books and games. I could probably be convinced to give a bigger limitation on it. Part of my thinking is that when somebody takes an "only versus X" defense, that is probably going to push that particular defense higher than the campaign limit. If your average character has 25/25 def, Captain Fireball isn't going to come in with 25/15 and +20 ED only vs fire. He's going to have 25/25 and then +20 ED only vs fire. There's a bit of a premium you need to pay for invulnerability to a special effect.
  2. Yeah, the rules in general (and End rules specifically) are fairly optimistic on what the "average" person can do. But I figure you can have a Disadvantage to cover that. Physical Limitation: Out of Shape. Maybe certain activities cost extra end, or you can't move as fast, or you only get a recovery every other turn. Now you're really normal.
  3. I don't really play Fantasy Hero, but I like building characters from movies and books. I've done a lot of tinkering over the years and I've got something I'd like to use if I ever got around to running a fantasy game. My suggestion for a magic system is a tiered approach. Tier 1 -- Entry level stuff All the spells are created by the GM. In D&D terms, these are 1st and 2nd level spells, maybe 3rd. Spells are paid for with cash, not points. If your "acid arrow" spell is the same damage as the fighter's crossbow, it's not fair to charge the wizard points for it. Spells can cost similar to what an equivalent weapon or tool would cost. Some spells may require spell components -- an Animate Dead spell that creates a zombie servant might require special powders, similar in cost to what it would take to hire a soldier for a week. At this level, your wizard just needs Magic Skill 11- (or whatever), and then he spends the money to buy the spells. Maybe he pays to have Weapon Familiarity with that type of magic. His actual point expenditure is very small though, but he's also limited to fairly unimpressive "beginner" magics. Type 2 -- Boosted spells You can buy Deadly Blow (or whatever it's called) or other "enhancement" abilities to increase the power of existing Tier 1 spells. You wanna be a Fire Mage? Deadly Blow on all fire spells, and there you go. This is a quick way to specialize. Likewise you could just buy some extra dice on one or two spells. +3D6 Mental Illusions, incantation & gestures, only on Harry's Hazy Hallucination spell. It's a big step up in power for a beginner mage, and it maybe costs you 10 points or something. A lot of starter mages will try to take one of these to distinguish themselves in some way. Tier 3 -- Extraplanar entities All the spells are created by the GM, but these can be significantly more powerful. The player doesn't pay points for the spells (though he still may have to pay cash to learn it). Instead the player buys a Contact with the appropriate extradimensional being. You want to cast Dormammu's Destructive Disc? Well make your Contact roll, and call upon Dormammu. See if he's in the mood to give you that spell right now. Effectively the points are "paid" by the extraplanar being, and you're just asking them to do you a favor. These spells may be weak, or they may be extremely powerful. The GM sets limits on when and how these can be used. Many spells may be almost automatic (some beings don't notice or care that you called on them), while others may not always work, or may have consequences. It's all up to the GM. These kinds of spells are often the next step up for an aspiring wizard. You get a lot of bang for your buck -- some entities may grant multiple spells. But it has the drawback that you're not really the one in control. It's kinda like buying Contact: Superman, 18-. Yeah it's useful, and he's always willing to help, but calling on him too often will bring... scrutiny. Tier 4 -- Paid-for spells This is the default Fantasy Hero proposition. You pick a spell and pay the points. In my opinion, generic attack spells and other basics aren't really useful enough for this. If you're gonna have a spell like this, it needs to be something good. You probably won't have a lot of these spells, but it depends on how many limitations you put on them. With only a few, it may be something character-defining for you. If everybody knows your sorcerer can walk through walls and change into a dire bear, and you do it all the time, then maybe those are paid-for spells. Tier 5 -- Summons, Frameworks, and Superpowers At this level, you're basically just building a Champions character. Your wizard can fly, just because he can fly. Maybe Saruman has an 80 Presence, because he's magic. Your character's got a multipower or VPP with a ton of different abilities, his magic can do almost anything. Summon is a big points saver as well. It can give you world-altering power for fairly cheap. Summon Undead Army is not that expensive, especially if you can only do it on the full moon or something. Every one of those needs to be looked over by the GM very carefully.
  4. Just from a dungeon crawl perspective, they shouldn't have to swim while carrying that weight. 31 hexes is like 200 feet. They should be able to tie some ropes together, run it down the shaft, and tie it to a bag/chest/whatever. Just stand on one end and pull the stuff through.
  5. I grew up with a pool. I remember timing myself when I was a kid, but I don't recall how long I could stay underwater. 2 minutes seems about right.
  6. The biggest problem is that the cost of powers in the game is not structured with this in mind. Zero End is a +1/2 advantage because you are normally spending End every time you use the power. Change Constant powers so that they only pay End as if you were Speed 2, and it becomes far far cheaper to just buy a little extra End and not worry about it. You break the cost structure of the game if you do that.
  7. I think it's entirely reasonable for constant powers to cost End every phase. Not only does it make actually playing the game much simpler, but it makes a certain amount of sense in real life as well. About six months ago, I decided to get into shape. So I joined a Taekwondo gym (I went before as a kid and liked it) and have been going 2-3 times per week. You know one of the toughest things for me? When the class starts, you do various stretches, and then a bunch of practice kicks, and you count out loud in Korean. I found that the simple act of counting makes it so much harder. Normally counting is a 0 End activity, but trying to manage your breathing while you're in a deep stretch or doing a side kick, that wears me out faster than the kicking does. Doing an additional task, even an easy one, while you're pushing yourself at a higher level of physical activity is very difficult. If you just want to sit there all day with your Force Field on, that's pretty simple. Voluntarily drop your Speed to 2 and have at it. Captain Force Field (Speed 6) isn't operating at his full Speed when he's hanging around the base. He only goes up to his normal Speed when he's flying, dodging, blasting, whatever. Then he's moving as fast as he can, and the normal minimal level of exertion to keep his force field up becomes a lot more significant.
  8. You've got access. https://readcomiconline.to/Comic/Superman-The-Golden-Age https://readcomiconline.to/Comic/Adventure-Comics-1938 There are a ton of old comics available for free.
  9. Again, I thought the tone of the post would get across that Agent Jerkface is intended to be a J. Jonah Jameson/Harvey Bullock/FBI guy from Die Hard type character. He's an arrogant blowhard who is there to be a minor recurring antagonist/comic relief to the PCs. I thought about suggesting that he ends up getting fired as head of the local PRIMUS division, which pleases the PCs greatly until they find out his new assignment -- liaison to their super team. Something can be aggravating to the PCs, yet hilarious to the players at the same time. We all have to deal with bureaucracy in the real world, nobody wants to actually play through it in the game. On the other hand, it can be funny to describe all the frustrations that a character has to go through, offscreen. You don't want to play it out, but sometimes it's funny to think about a guy in a super suit standing in line at the DMV. Then he gets to the front and the lady is like "it's time for my break" and walks off. That could be a good explanation for where a character went when Bob misses a game session. Humor is a big part of the superhero genre, and knowing what your players think is funny will really help.
  10. The tone of my post was fairly tongue in cheek. Obviously people know their own groups better than I do, and know how they'll respond to things. If your group wouldn't like that, then don't do it. I think my group would laugh it up, since it's clearly intended as a joke.
  11. Maybe this will help as kind of an example. Session 1 -- The intro The PCs are all presumed to know one another. Even if they aren't a defined "team", they have all been operating in the city for a few months and they are at least on speaking terms with each other. Now we just need a reason for them to get together. So we'll say there's a bank robbery. Two of the players are there in their secret identities. The other players happen to be close by (let's say they can arrive within a turn of combat starting). The supervillain Ogre busts his way into the bank, flanked by a squad of masked goons. The goons have generic comic book blaster guns, which they point at the people in the bank. Ogre makes his way to the underground vault, and starts yanking on the door, trying to rip it off its hinges (Ogre is not quite as strong as he thinks he is, this will take him a minute). One of the tellers hits a silent alarm. The players who aren't at the bank will be alerted that something is happening, and they'll start to make their way there. The players who are at the bank now have the opportunity to find a place to change into their costumes and either attack the goons, or attack Ogre. Neither the goons nor Ogre should be tough enough to stand up to two heroes for very long. If the heroes learn to cooperate, this will be a quick fight ("Thanks GM! Now I know!" "And knowing is half the battle!"). If they don't cooperate, things can get embarrassing. Even if the heroes split up (one takes Ogre, the other takes the goons), they should do okay as long as they aren't getting in each other's way. You might try putting the most inexperienced players in this initial encounter. It gives the GM a chance to baby-step them through a fairly unimportant combat, and you've already got reinforcements on the way (so it won't feel artificial when the cavalry shows up). Once the rest of the heroes show up, Ogre and the goons are done for. If the first two heroes have already won, then when the rest of the team shows up, they see a high-tech looking van parked out in front of the bank. There are also some goons standing outside of the van, also with blasters. The van has some kind of radar dish and laser cannon on top, big reinforced side doors (for Ogre to climb out of), heavy plates of armor, and can outrun a police car. It also transforms into a submarine, which was their escape plan (drive right off a bridge into the river below, and cruise away underwater). The laser hits hard enough to knock a hero for a loop, probably around the campaign max (12D6 or so for an average game). It gets a bonus to hit on the first shot because the heroes don't see it immediately. If Ogre and friends won the fight inside, they'll come running out of the bank right now with the money. They'll pile in the van and try to drive away. The goons may leave Ogre behind as a distraction (they can always break him out later if he gets caught). If Ogre and friends were defeated in the bank, then when more heroes show up, the van will take a pot-shot and drive away. The heroes will need to decide who chases the van and who stays at the bank. Regardless of whether they catch the van or not, or if the villains succeed at the robbery or not, it should be immediately obvious that someone else is pulling the strings. Ogre is not known for his brilliant scientific mind, and the goons you capture are just career criminals with some high tech guns. Somebody is supplying these guys. Don't feel the need to help the bad guys escape -- these guys are all losers, and the master villain doesn't really care if they get caught or not. If the players do well and capture the bad guys that's great, it's good for them to succeed. If they do poorly, the bad guys are just after money. They won't stick around to boot-stomp the heroes, they'll just leave. Now you've got to rope the heroes into being a team. Exactly how you do this will depend on your specific players. I'd suggest leaving a clue that ties it to one or more of the players' backgrounds. One of the unconscious goons has a weird tattoo that means he works for a rival ninja clan. Or maybe there's a mystic symbol on one of the guys' forehead or something. Anyway at least one of the players realizes that he's personally connected to this. Or if the bad guys got away, maybe they kidnapped one of the PC's girlfriends or something. So one or more of the players realize that this is a bigger deal than it appeared at first glance, and they need to request the assistance of these other heroes. If this adventure takes up all the time you have that evening, then that's a wrap for your first session. If the players rocket through it and you've still got half the night left, then another villain encounter will be handy. It can be completely unrelated to the first one (not everything has to tie to a larger meta-plot). Session 2 -- The Villain Team This could serve as a continuation of the first session if it goes fast enough, or it can be saved for the second time you play. A group of loser villains have come together to commit some type of crime. You'll want a change of scenery from a bank robbery. These guys have attacked the local hydroelectric dam, or high tech science lab, or whatever. They have an evil plan they'll shout out at the top of their lungs ("With this blah blah blah, you'll never stop me from blah blah blah..."). The villains are roughly on par with the heroes, except for a few shortcomings. Maybe one of them has a harsh vulnerability to a particular hero's powers. The killer robot has a x2 vulnerability to Captain Lightning's attack. Or perhaps they're fairly even, but they average about 1 point less Speed than the heroes. Or maybe one of the villains doesn't have a real movement power -- he gets left behind during the fight and can't catch up. Perhaps the villains all have about 10 less Stun than the heroes. Or some combination of all these. The villains have the same number of characters as the heroes, one villain per hero. In a straight-up fight, each villain should lose, even if the heroes aren't that coordinated. Don't play the villains as exceedingly deadly or vicious (maybe they're beginners too, and they're very overconfident in their powers). Your players can still lose this battle even if everything is stacked in their favor (never underestimate the players' ability to waste their time with ineffective tactics). If you can work in the scenery into the battle plan, that's even better. A fight on top of a hydroelectric dam is awesome, particularly if somebody gets blasted off of it and falls a long way. Or if a hole gets blasted through it and the heroes have to spend some time stopping a massive water leak. Playing with the environment around you in a way that fantasy characters can't is part of what makes superhero games so much fun. Anyway eventually the heroes defeat the villains. The PCs get to wait around for a bit until the PRIMUS team (i.e., the government agency who investigate supercrime, are ineffective at fighting villains, and run the revolving door superprison) shows up to take the bad guys into custody. Agent Jerkface is in charge, and he doesn't like superpeople. He's going to bitch and moan to the PCs, and try to intimidate them. He might actually have a heart of gold, or he might just be a jerk. It's up to you. He'll complain about having to "clean up your messes", while conveniently ignoring the fact that his PRIMUS team was woefully incapable of stopping this minor supervillain team. Hopefully one of your players makes a comment about leaving him some sloppy seconds, and the PCs can have a wonderfully antagonistic relationship with the people who are supposed to be helping out. Regardless, PRIMUS will load the defeated supervillains into some armored cars, or maybe an armored helicopter, and take them to some detention facility. It's perfectly okay to have Agent Jerkface be halfway through a holier-than-thou speech about "competent professionals" being better than a bunch of amateurs, and then there's a loud BANG in the distance as the doors are blown off the helicopter and the villain team jumps to freedom. It should be far in the distance, so the heroes don't really have the movement to get over there, nor do they feel like they're supposed to (it's clearly the crushing force of irony coming down on the agent -- don't worry, he won't learn his lesson). Perfectly silhouetted against the setting sun, these tiny little figures jump out of the side of the smoking helicopter, and they fly away. Agent Jerkface about chokes on his cigar, and the players have a good laugh. After the fight, the PCs meet Doctor Von Scientist, the man responsible for whatever thing the bad guys were attempting to take. He's a nice guy, but lacks wisdom. He of course had zero foresight that anybody would want to steal his Mega Ray or whatever it was. "Oh, the consequences of that would be catastrophic!" Of course even if he destroys the prototype, he knows how to build a new one. Anyone with the ability to read minds and a massive technical lab could capture him and get the secrets from him. We call this "foreshadowing". He's okay for now, and he's friendly to the PCs. But he's going to be more of a pain in the ass than an actual asset. Have him be an expert in some field that the players don't have covered. That way if something comes up later, they can go bother this guy about it. ---- Anyway, that should give a general idea of how Champions games feel. The "metaplot" doesn't have to move forward each session. You can have nice little self-contained stories each week. And occasionally you'll refer back to something that happened before. Just plant some seeds and give them enough time to develop into properly develop. Feel free to steal from cartoons, movies, old comic books, new comic books, other people's campaigns, etc. Old Ninja Turtles cartoons are almost superhero stories, the same with Transformers and GI Joe. An evil organization works great, particularly if they've got some super-powered enforcers on the payroll to stop those meddling heroes.
  12. To start out the campaign, I'd give the players a rough idea of power level and setting, and then build the rest of the world through the choices they make with their characters. The Marvel movies did that. For instance, in the first Iron Man movie, they introduce the "arc reactor" technology. This is really what sets the Marvel world apart from our world. Tony Stark invents some really awesome stuff, and the "super" tech that we see all comes from him. Of course his dad was brilliant too, and so if we need to have some existing supertech that Tony didn't invent, it probably came from his dad. Then we get the Incredible Hulk, and we know that there's this serum the government has been messing with for decades, and if you do it wrong it produces monsters. Then we get Thor, and we learn there are aliens who have been messing around on Earth for eons, and a lot of our old myths probably come from their exploits. They've got advanced technology that looks like magic to us, and they aren't big on explaining themselves to humans. Finally we get Captain America, and we not only see what the super-soldier serum does when it works right, but we also see the glowing cube thingy that (among other things) gives Nazis supertech. This all comes together with the Avengers movie, where we get glowing cube thingy, brainwashing staff, alien armies, super-agents, and a flying helicarrier. Everything we see in the early Marvel movies has its origins in something tied in with the "PCs" of that world. Look at the origins of the main characters, and that gives you your villains. So say you've got 5 players. Bob wants to be a ninja. Dave insists on playing a chain-smoking Scottish wizard who wears a trench coat and fights demonic creatures. Ricky has designed a power armor character who spent all his points on the cool armor, and doesn't have any skills or wealth. When forced to come up with an explanation, he says he's a military pilot and was given the armor for this special assignment. Frank plays an alien from another world who gets his powers from Earth's reflected moonlight or something. And Sarah wants to play an anime character she really likes. She's got a teenage girl who changes into a super teenage girl and shoots rainbow beams of power. She does this to fight off the evil queen from Planet X. What do you do? Well, you've got two characters with asian themes, so that'll probably feature heavily. We know that ninjas are real. You've also got two different alien races (Planet X people and also Frank's character, though you might tie them together somehow). The government has advanced enough tech to hand out a power suit to Corporal Moron. And we've got shadowy demon creatures running around in the background thanks to our cynical mage, Harry Trainspotter. That gives you a lot of possible enemies for these guys. Then you can gradually build out the world based on what happens with these characters. Just go with the logical conclusions of their actions and how they describe their backgrounds. It sounds to me like evil cults should be a thing, maybe they hire ninja clans to guard their meeting places? And if the governments of the world know that aliens are real, perhaps they are trying to use their super-suits to prevent possible invasion. That sounds like a good reason for them to build a lot of different experimental units, many of which can get stolen. And then sometimes Planet X could send some advanced scouts to Earth, and maybe they get captured or they drop an important alien tech thingy (and somebody else finds it). Anyway, when you introduce a new villain, it can help to tie it to one of the characters. Sorry Bob, but the cyber-ninja that tried to kill the mayor seems very familiar to you -- he reminds you of a dead man, someone you once killed. You're honor bound to investigate. And Ricky, that laser sword he used looks like something you saw in the testing center when they gave you your armor. You're almost afraid to ask your superiors where it came from. Something is definitely up. You don't have to resolve the problem immediately, in fact it may be better if you just let it linger for a while. Bob can get revenge and knock the villain off a building into the river (where he disappears), but Ricky is still left wondering who he can trust within his own organization. Each game session, you might have a villain that is related to a different hero, or maybe multiple heroes at once. The players end up being tied together by circumstances, because all the villains link back to their own backgrounds.
  13. If you aren't that familiar with the superhero genre, I'd suggest reading some classic comic books to get a feel for what superheroes are all about. My own tastes lean towards the late 70s through the 1980s, but it kinda depends on what you're going for. There's a website called Read Comics Online that has a huge storehouse of comics. https://readcomiconline.to/Comic/The-New-Teen-Titans-1980 The early 1980s Teen Titans storyline is a great team adventure. It's got a mix of "woe is me" teen angst, characters balancing their super lives with their secret identities, one-off fights with villains, and overarching plots that the characters will encounter again and again.
  14. No, he does take focus. But Captain Flagsuit doesn’t have a super special one-of-a-kind vibranium/adamantium shield (unbreakable, OAF). Instead his shield is just a regular metal discus. He buys the power the exact same way (Energy Blast, levels in DCV, Force Field, whatever), he just makes sure that his shield can be easily reproduced. It’s still OAF, it might even still be unbreakable. It’s his amazing skill with this run of the mill shield that makes it powerful. In someone else’s hands (without his ultra specialized training and experience) it would just be a 8/8 Def piece of metal. Same exact character build, different description.
  15. See, all that’s gonna happen when you start taking away somebody’s special focus is that they begin redefining their characters. Captain Flagsuit doesn’t have a rare, one of a kind invincible shield. He’s got a regular shield, and he’s just that damn good with it. Albino Sorcerer Man doesn’t have a unique soul-sucking sword. He’s haunted by a demon that gradually transforms any sword he uses into a demon blade. Functionally there’s no difference here. The guy is just going to have a different explanation for why his weapon will always come back.
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