Ockham's Spoon reacted to Brian Stanfield in [DM's perspective] Let's talk about child Player Characters
This is actually something I've considered doing before, but more like an entire party of teenagers setting out on their own, etc. etc. The things that held me back are similar to what you're concerns are. I'll offer a few of the ideas I had to maybe help you out. Take 'em or leave 'em as you wish!
The Medieval world had a robust apprenticing system in trades and whatnot. Parents gave up their children willingly in order to learn a trade and become productive adults (squire, apprentice for a trade, shopkeeper's assistant/trainee, etc.) Keep in mind that adulthood began at a much younger age, so it's not so strange for a teenager to be out on his own. In fantasy, this may amount to a child who shows promise being sent to apprentice with a wizard. If you have another wizard in your party, perhaps he'd like to take on the mentoring role. So the parents have sent the child off willingly to learn. If there's no mentor, maybe they've sent the child with the party with the promise to make sure he gets to [name of school redacted to protect the innocent] in order to learn properly. Maybe the parents are too poor to support the child and have to send him off with someone else who can afford to care for the child while also training the child. Maybe the child is a runaway who managed to glom onto the party, and now they can't get rid of him.
Most importantly, it's going to require you to sit down at Session 0 with your players and see who and how all these things will interact. Things to consider and discuss with your players:
The child should have Complications galore built into the character: distinctive feature (young person, easily identified and hard to conceal), reduced Characteristics based on one of the templates offered, a tendency to throw tantrums or act irrationally because of youth, defies authority, is always trying to "prove himself" to the adults, and the list goes on. Complications are where you can try to encourage some of the character's role playing. Spells will most likely have limited power that can grow rapidly over time. Perhaps your player will have limited versions of spells that can improve with use. Most likely the spells will also have a reduced activation roll, or have side effects, that can eventually be bought off with XP as he grows. Maybe the youngster will gain XP at a faster rate than the other players for a while as he learns and grows more dramatically than the adults. "Hey, I didn't know I could make a fire spell explode like that! Cool!" and then add a new spell to his list. The other players should most definitely step up and take Complications to account for a youth in their party. Maybe not all of them, but someone should take on the role of the mentor or protector, perhaps another player actually hates kids and take a Complication to pick on him that comes up every once in a while, and so on. The more you can get the characters to overlap with their Complications, the more likely the role playing will be reinforced in the group. So much good material can come from this! So much good material can come from this. As you suggest, Ragitsu, have a conversation and let the group decide how these parts will interact. The more you can get the characters to overlap with their Complications, the less you'll have to "hand wave" the problems away, and the more you can hopefully encourage some good role playing material.
I was once in a one-shot at a convention, and one of the characters was a teenage girl super. The player who took her played that to the hilt! She was on her phone all the time, and was so ironic all the time, and started half her comments with "OMG . . ." and stuff like that. The role playing was amazing, and was only barely built into the character as a suggestion. If you can get your group to buy into the concept, it could be a ton of fun!
Hope this helps.
Ockham's Spoon reacted to IndianaJoe3 in 'Usable Simultaneously' valid for Life Support?
Add my name to the list of people who think this would be unnecessary. I see AoE and UBO as fundamentally different, even if (in some scenarios) the effect is similar. With AoE, the original user is the only one with the power, even though it affects an area. With UBO, the recipients actually possess the power. This distinction is most clear with Attack powers.
Ockham's Spoon reacted to BoloOfEarth in Jokes
God is creating the world, and he tells the Canadians, “You will have the best land ever. It is beautiful, in the summer it is warm and in the winter it snows beautiful snow flakes. It is called Canada. You will have prosperity and food for all your days.”
He then gets the Australians, and says to them “I give to you Australia. You are isolated, and the land is harsh and deadly. You will work every day and get little in return, but you will be hardened by it and will call it home.”
The Australians reply “This is so unfair, why do the Canadians get good land and prosperity?"
He replies “Sure, but I didn’t tell the Canadians about their neighbours.”
Ockham's Spoon reacted to Gnome BODY (important!) in Handling complications
In my experience, the process goes something like this:
Two weeks before session 1: Tell the players that hey, we're shifting GMs for a bit and it was a major story arc we just finished, switch PCs if you want but get me the sheet by [one week before session 1].
One week before session 1: I have one PC's sheet. Ask the players for their sheets ASAP. Plan anyways, hope to get sheets soon.
Week leading up to session 1: Complete silence from the players.
Session 1: All but one player sends me their sheet day-of, generally no more than two hours before game starts. Plans are already finalized. Half the PCs have obvious issues that require immediate attention to fix, so there's no time to work the game around the PCs. The last player seems utterly determined to not hand over their character sheet, for reasons beyond anyone's knowledge.
After session 1: Too angry at players refusing to provide sheets to give a flying fornication about working them in.
Ockham's Spoon reacted to Duke Bushido in Gronda
For no particular reason, other than general interest.
The original version of Grond, as rendered by Mark Williams:
I have never made a secret of the fact that Williams' art was one of the biggest attractions that drew me to Champions. I won't bore you with the stories and reasons (again), but despite the constant stream of negative comments it draws, it had incredible appeal to me.
Anyway, this is how Grond looked in his first appearance: Enemies II, in 1982.
For what it's worth, this is _not_ one of my favorite pieces of Williams' work, nor is it my favorite picture of Grond. I will state flat-out, however, that I _liked_ his decision to feature two thoracic spine sections, from which to hang two complete sets of shoulder blades, two complete sets of pectoral muscles, etc. I never did like that "flap o skin" that attaches one to the other-- well, let's not go into what I don't like here. Suffice it to say that I _liked_ the fact that he worked with biological structures that everyone immediately understood, not just because-- well, we immediately had answers to the questions that 4-armed characters invariably raise (how to the lower arms work?!) and because it was just _creepy_. Yes; Grond was supposed to be big and scary etc, but that disturbing centaur thing Williams did here added some serious creep factor (you have to imagine yourself bumping into this as a real living creature; not just as a character on a comic page, to really see the freak-out potential). It added extra creepiness in the implication of the elongated spine as well-- imagine him curling completely over you-- not just leaning, but twisting and pivoting those twelve extra vertebrae, and the snake-like upper body movement potential. You can even picture him relaxed, with the top portion of his spine rolled forward so that both sets of arms drape comfortably down, neither in the way of the other.
Again, if I had one tenth of an ounce of talent, there are things I would have done differently, but I will never not applaud the serious freak-out body horror potential that Williams seized on and ran with.
The first update for Grond's look came with 4e's Classic Enemies:
This is my second least favorite picture of Grond. Not because the art isn't technically superior to Williams' work, but because what the Hell is going on with those extra arms?! The are growing directly out of his abdomen-- the front of his abdomen! Are we to accept that there is an entire skeletal superstructure where most other supervillians keep their intestines? Or is there no skeletal superstructure at all, and the muscles of the arms tie directly into the abdominal wall, providing no anchoring for the bones or the arm, meaning no real leverage? His waistband is in his armpits. That's gotta chafe a bit.
Things that work: The lower arms are a bit smaller, to be less in the way of the upper arms. His proportions are more "attractive," in that he no longer has the elongated spine.
Things that don't work: Right off the bat? There is _way_ too much personality in the face. I know-- it's a skill mark for an artist to be able to put personality, attitude-- life-- into a line drawing, and I congratulate them for that ability. There's smarmy sarcasm in that face. Grond doesn't have enough brains for smarmy sarcasm. The lower arms we've discussed, but I'd like to point out that the are growing straight out of his front. There is no way that they will ever not be in the way. His lower shoulders are completely in his upper armpits. Effectively, he has lost his scary because even though he has four arms, his range of motion is somewhat less than that of a triple-amputee tortoise. Better than I could do? Absolutely without question. Talented? Yes. But just an unworkable presentation of the concept. Worse, what _does_ work is wrong for the character.
Grond got another new look with New Millennium:
I'm not a huge fan of this picture. This is my "middle of the road" picture of Grond. I accept that the quality of the art itself is amazing, and there is definitely a rage vibe coming off the page, but it lacks something critical, at least _to me_. Not only does it lack this vital thing, but the entire picture is composed to hide that lack:
The artist had no idea how to make two sets of shoulders work. And like Liefeld and feet, he felt the best option was to just hide the problem completely. There is a small smattering of Grond images throughout New Millennium. Every one of them is composed to hide the "and just how does that extra arms things work?" part of the character. Checking out the anatomy that _is_ visible, however, suggests that the artist didn't even attempt to wrestle with it: nothing in any visible structure suggests anything other than 'roided up normal human structures.
This leads us to my favorite (with qualifiers) picture of Grond:
Yes; that is Storn Cook's 5e drawing of Grond, and I absolutely love it.
Now keep in mind that typically, I prefer the simplicity and the "looks like the comics of my youth (what scant few there were)" style of Mark Williams. But I _love_ this picture. First, there is so damned much _life_ in this picture! I know Storn is a phenomenal artist, but I gush over this picture more than anything else he's ever done for the life in it _alone_, before getting to anything about the character. I've never seen his portfolio, but if he doesn't have this image in it, he's missing a bet!
Right off the bat, the very next thing-- after the sheer amount of energy captured here-- I noticed was the fact that he meticulously addressed the biology of the arms and shoulders The torso is high and cavernously oversized, there is a distinct stricture in the rib cage allowing for the shoulders and a direct transition to a wider support structure again for the next section of the rib cage. There is additional bone of tendon growth, heavy and powerful, to provide structural reinforcement for the shoulders, one set to the other, as all the shoulders are mounted on truncated rib structures The latisimus dorsal is duplicated as well, and the implied depth of the torso suggests the "upper" one spreads atop the lower one. The lower shoulders are narrow, and the arms are slightly-- not considerably, but noticeably-- smaller than the upper. Combined with the massively broad upper shoulders, it's clear that when at rest, neither set of arms and attendant hardware in any way impede the other. The pose shows that Grond might comfortably raise his lower arms to his sides, perhaps lace his fingers or fold his arms across his midsection, comfortably moving them entirely out of the way of his larger arms.
Don't mistake the innovations Storn has going here-- even if he didn't do it consciously-- even if he just thought to himself "this feels more right" and never thought about the anatomical structures again, there was keen insight here into what works and what doesn't. Not only does this picture demonstrate a model that _works_, having made such tremendous adjustments to the torso itself and having paid such attention to the mechanical bits there has allowed Storn to provide an attractive, viscerally-acceptable model: This is the single most humaniform Grond offered in any edition, as well as being the most energetically exciting villain images offered throughout the entire series of this game from start to finish. I don't even care to much for Grond, but this picture _excites_ me!
In fairness, I don't like the dinosaur head. I'm totally down with the idea that Grond's head has never really appeared monstrous enough, but going with the dinosaur head robs that horrifying "this was once a man" horror from him. I mean, it _totally_ works in this picture, and honestly it _adds_ to the image of a great mindless beast. But it also makes it a bit less horrifying by making it easier to accept "well, this _was_ a guy, but it's not anymore."
Anyway, favorite picture of Grond, period. Take that New Millennium head, add just a bit more lost humanity to it, and graft it onto this picture-- well, you'd have committed a sacrilege from a pure-art perspective, but you'd have an extremely good take on the character, I think. I'd hate it because, while I don't think it's right for the character, the dinosaur head _is_ the perfect choice for Storn's take on the character.
This gets me to my absolute _least_ favorite image of Grond:
Here he is' he's just a big happy doofus....
Yeah. That seems right.
yes; I know it's from a video game, but _still_!
Go with any picture from 6e, really. I'd have to upload the one from the book, so let's just pull another one from the game:
This picture (from the game, but you'll find the same problem in every 6e image of him) is just like the New Millennium image: every single image of him is composed to allow the artist to completely ignore the anatomical problems. The best thing I can say about the 6e look is that the artist for the image in the Villains book revisited Williams' elongated spine and draws him slumping heavily forward, allowing his upper arms to dangle in front of his lower ones. But still, the actual anatomy is not addressed, and pretty much _every_ image of him from book or game gives the impression that these arms just sort of sprout through his ribs and are anchored loosely in his kidneys......
Five images. Five artists. Three of them tackled the anatomy-- don't tell me you aren't interested in the anatomy! You are all the same people that have to have a two-page discussion on if wallpapering the headquarters is a Transform or a limited form of Armor, how much it should cost, and who should have to pay for it. Don't tell me the anatomy is of no interest to _any_ group (myself included; I'm here) that compulsively anal. Don't try it.
The second guy flubbed it, but I give him props for doing more than at least two of the other guys.
The first guy made something truly horrifying, from whole cloth, but his technical skills didn't give him the finesse to really shock you with it: you had to study it, put it in front of you in the real world to appreciate how disturbing it was.
The forth guy-- he blew me away. Hopefully he blew _all_ of you away! He created something that was believable, complex, and beautiful all in one shot. It's absolutely incredible. The best thing that could have done for 6e was to colorize Storn's picture.
It took me _days_ to figure out that these two comments went together!
I'll be glad when the July 4 shutdown gets here!
Ockham's Spoon got a reaction from Vanguard in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?
Whether or not you use Multipowers in your magic system depends on how you want the magic system to work. If the spell-casters have a relatively static set of spells and it requires a lot of effort to learn a new spell, then having them pay for each one individually makes sense and it allows a fairly easy way to balance magic-users with straight-up warriors.
If you want wizards to be able to pick up new spells fairly easily and have a wide repertoire, then a Multipower or even VPP makes sense. BUT you need to impose some limitation on it to keep spell-casters from getting too powerful relative to characters who don't use magic. It might be a low cap on active points in spells. You might insist all magic has to be bought at x3 END, or at 0 DCV, or all spells require rare and expensive consumable spell components, or the minimum casting time is 1 minute, or whatever flavor of magic you want. This is more challenging than the first scenario because getting the balance right is more ambiguous than when you just base it on how many points they spend on each ability.
The key is to figure out how you want magic to work in your world and what limitations prevent wizards from ruling the world and use that to inform the structure of your magic system.
Ockham's Spoon got a reaction from drunkonduty in DNPCs - What do you like to have on your sheet
Relatives show up most frequently as DNPCs, I think because blood is thicker than water. This allows for more conflict between the hero and DNPC without breaking the relationship; no matter how awkward the relationship becomes, you can't change the fact they are family. That just makes for more role-playing opportunities and more development of the DNPC because they aren't being rotated out periodically when their relationship with the hero falls apart.
The most unusual DNPC I have ever had was for a PC sorceress who had gotten trapped in a hellish dimension as part of her origin story. In order to escape, she made a pact with an incubus that brought them both back to Earth, which established a link between them that was like the Corsican Twins - they shared emotions and injuries. They had to keep each other safe lest they die or return to hell, but they constantly fought with each other as well, having dramatically different sets of morals. The incubus was not particularly violent, and usually more interested in debauchery than viciousness which kept their relationship from completely disintegrating, although the sorceress was never quite sure how evil he would be were she not effectively part of his life. She was always trying to reform him and he was always trying to corrupt her. It was a complex relationship that was constantly shifting about, which made it a lot of fun. I was disappointed when that campaign ended.
Ockham's Spoon got a reaction from Doc Democracy in Everyman Powers? (6e)
Most non-human races have builds with a standard set of 'Everyman powers' - mostly low-level stuff like Enhanced Senses, a point or two of armor, a small HKA, etc, but nothing that couldn't be explained with basic biology.
I had one campaign with time-traveling, dimension-hopping characters where Universal Translator was an Everyman power, but that was for the sake of convenience. I throw this one out because I think most Everyman abilities exist for the sake of convenience so that you don't have to think about buying every little thing. As such, unless it has some significant impact on the lives of your average Everyman, I think I would hand-wave it for the most part. Write the build up, just to attach some numbers to it, but don't sweat it.
Ockham's Spoon reacted to pawsplay in The Fantasy Races Thread
1) Each species or race should represent some difference in body or mind from humans. Like elves are aloof and ageless. Halflings are very human-like, but subtle; they hide easily and they don't get caught up in forging empires or become ring-wraiths and such. A half-elemental has some minor super-powers. The purpose is to have an experience outside the ordinary. If you find yourself using species or races as stand-ins for human or human-like ethnicities, back up and turn around, you have made a wrong turn.
2) That really depends. Sometimes I prefer a human-centric campaign, with maybe some elves or snake people in the background. Generally speaking, for high fantasy I prefer the standard Tolkien set, or a different cluster of core species. A friendly world, but not crowded, where some races have significant secrets from each other.
3) Monolithic cultures. Dwarves are one sore spot for me, with dwarves being modeled heavily on Thorin's company and Norse myths. But the dwarves in the Hobbit were distraught over being reduced to coal-mining; they were aristocrats, perhaps not representative of tradesmen, or more stay-at-home types. Dwarves in Krynn do everything underground, and so they eat wear subterranean monsters and drunk mushroom beer and other stuff I find weird. I imagine dwarf fortresses to be mighty mountain keeps, but I also imagine farmlands surrounding, with lower status dwarves, and halfing, gnome, and human tenants farming, ranching, and hunting. Each race, particularly if it's at all widespread, should have cultural and tribal differences within it. Even a small group of extraplanar refugees should have factions. Also, while it's fine in my book for a species to be "evil" in the sense of being almost universally a threat, any intelligent being should have some capacity, however atrophied, to make choices of free will.
4) If you want to do high fantasy, "zero" is too few. If there are giants and elves at all in your setting, there should be some provisions for playing one. But twenty common races is too many. But if the setting has a major metropolitan center, or is at a planar nexus, or in a massive ringworld, there is no such things as too many. There could be hundreds, with some being entirely unaware of each other.
5) Conflict. Reason versus emotion. Talent versus pitiability. Many versus few. Old versus new. Kindness versus cruelty. Indifference versus curiosity. Human versus alien. Supernatural versus mundane.
Ockham's Spoon got a reaction from drunkonduty in stockpilable powers
I would do this as an explosive Blast or RKA as you like, with Boostable charges, and then a custom limitation: Can only generate one charge per day. You will be limited by the total number of charges you can afford, but that could be quite a few (up to the GM's discretion). Also, since each additional charge only boosts the overall damage by 1 DC each, it keeps it from getting out of hand too quickly.