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Jhamin

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About Jhamin

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    Millennial Master

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    Network Engineer (I don't know why people act like it's hard. You just Shovel Coal into the server)
  1. Yeah, The Houses are meant as multiple-choice antagonists not character splats. Too bad they are all so typey that it's hard not to want to use them that way. A Battletech group that is made of up members of each nations would be a lot like a Cold War Superspy game with a Cuban, an American, a Soviet, and a Vatican Bishop all in the same party. Who would they oppose? (Which is I think why Bond had to have SPECTRE). I think the closest they came to a mixed group like that officially in the Battletech universe was a squad of mercs that had all lost their worlds to the Clan Invasion & had banded together to stop the Clan Tide. Which only works in-universe for around 12-18 months before the Truce ossifies the battle lines.
  2. Lots of us want to game in custom Sci-Fi settings. Most of us just don't have the patience to actually communicate the setting to players or have players invested enough to digest our world info. Fun Fact: The Expanse started out as a RPG universe that the author was trying to get made into an MMO. Someone pointed out that the game notes he had written to get players oriented were more extensive than most novels he had read and actually werent painful to read through. So the author got a writing partner & converted his setting into published novels.
  3. I think the biggest barrier to most Sci-Fi games is having rules all the players understand. Not game mechanics, but universe rules like Are there Transporters? If so, can we just beam explosives over to enemy ships? Why Not? Do we have FTL? can we rig captured ships do FTL rams into the big enemy stations? Why Not? Sci Fi covers a *lot* of ground and you need everyone in the group to be on the same page for the game to work. Most established universes have rules about what actions do and don't work, and they are very different from universe to universe. Without a common consensus on how this universe works you get players expecting Firefly and getting Chronicles of Riddick. Then people are unhappy because they aren't playing the game they expected too. Or worse, a player who made a Babylon 5 style military guy, a player who made a Starship Troopers military guy and a player who made a Battlestar Galactica military guy all showing up for a Stargate Universe campaign. Now the party doesn't even gel. If you just declare "we are playing Star Trek Next Gen" and then enforce the rules of that setting onto the game you avoid lots of weird arguments. Making impassioned speeches works, because it's TNG. No, you can't beam the side of the Klingon antimatter container out into space and make them explode. Why? Because they never do so you can't. You solve your problems with klingons by appealing to their Honor or by arming Photon Torpedoes, you don't release Nanite Bombs from a shuttle you converted into a fighter even though they totally have Nanites because of episode XX. Or do that. But then the whole game becomes about the players and the GM out-gambiting each other by exploring the poorly thought through implications of most popular Sci-Fi Franchises. RPGs are a communal experience and need to be experienced and enjoyed by the players. Without good rules about tone and what's possible in universe things get really frustrating. If you obey the rules of a universe everyone is familiar with you will be fine, if you homebrew a universe or jumble one up you end up with players who either are confused or have to read 40 pages of campaign notes before they make characters.
  4. Mechanon was a long running antagonist in my old 5th edition game (and thus used his 5th edition stats). His origin was mysterious as this was long before 6th Ed gave him an actual one. The game ran for over many years and the PCs had the points to tackle him, but his "return having been rebuilt to not go down that way again" shtick eventually made him even more of a monster. By this point he was immune to their tricks and had enough experience fighting them he was predicting their tactics. Then someone pulled out the *big* guns. One PC was an angel slumming it on earth & dealing with her newfound mortality after quitting the war between heaven & hell. She was profoundly disturbed that Mechanon wasn't just a puppet gone wrong. He had a mind and a soul (she could tell) but no idea where it came from. And it wanted to kill everything organic the Creator had put on the earth. She still had a favor from her old buddy the Angel of Death AKA the Reaper AKA Thanatos. She called it in claiming that Mechanon was an abomination and must not be allowed to exist. The Reaper demurred that it didn't really work that way, he couldn't just take someone before their time, but he compromised (really owed her for a solid she had done him outside Gomorrah) and took away Mechanon's hatred of life. It wasn't really kosher for him to do and they agreed not to discuss it with anyone immortal. Mechanon is now a hero of last restort in my world. He is still as arrogant, paranoid, and vain as ever, but he actually kinda likes organics and has backed into being a reluctant hero. He doesn't fight street crime or really care about Eurostar but if Istvanna shows up she has to get past his legion of War-Bots first. The Angelic PC has embraced her mortality and settled down with her old DNPC boyfriend, studiously avoiding Viborra Bay. A current PC in my RavensWood Academy game is his "son" born of a fight between Mechanon and the Engineer (Still a villian) inside one of Mechanon's auto-factories.
  5. My god man! I survived the great FRED wars when 5th edition made attack builds like this explicit. Hundreds of posts for months and years and I don't think this was *ever* dug up in all that time. What kind of world could we have built had such an explicit call out been made back then?
  6. As you say, Roy hasn't even fired up the anti-undead green glow on his ancestral sword yet. This fight has a ways to go.
  7. Re: Order of the Stick A valid way of reading that, but I don't agree that he is. He spent a lot of time standing outside in the daytime, both at the Arena and Girards Hideout. This is a big no-no for D&D vampires, and when D&D rules have been ignored in the past we have always gotten nods to the fact in the strips. (Like weather control not being able to do the stuff Durkon does with it in Cliffport)
  8. Re: Order of the Stick A lot of the characterization that informs RedCloak is unfortunately hidden away in the book-only strips found in "Start of Darkness". The books details Xykon and RedCloak early lives, how they hooked up, and why they are doing what they are doing. It is a fun read and really helps you understand the villains. He has already done terrible, terrible things for the plan. Feeding Tsukiko to her own minions is kinda small stuff compared to what he did to his own kin in service of the master plan. As for power level? teh bunneh is spot on about RedCloak getting the spells he says are brand new at 17th level. That doesn't put him in Xykon's league power wise. Heck, it only puts him maybe 2 or 3 levels ahead of most of the protagonists. Xykon is very clearly an epic-level character. We have seen Xykon cast at least 4 or 5 9th level spells in one battle (which is easier if you are a sorcerer, but you still need to be way above 20th level). We have also seen him use metamagic on 8th and 9th level spells which isn't possible without epic feats. I'd peg him around the mid to high 20s personally.
  9. Re: Order of the Stick I liked: "When has it (our trial) been scheduled to begin?" "What's your Move rate?"
  10. Re: Who is sticking to 4th or 5th Ed HERO I think the fact that long running groups like this are common around here may be among the biggest reasons this debate is happening. In my experience every group has it's share of rules arguments, and long running groups usually come to some sort of accord. Someone either comes up with a house rule everyone can live with, or an argument for the controversial rule that sways everyone enough that they can then live with it. Groups that cannot do this either just ban sections of the system, switch to a different game, or break up. After a while, you forget these rules were ever controversial in the first place. Your group is on board with them & are happy with the reasoning behind them. This thinking, IMHO, is at the root off a lot of this debate. Figureds make an intuitive sort of sense to many Hero players. That intuitive "it feels right" is at the core of the system for many. Others have found that High Str=More PD just doesn't make sense for some of their characters & really prefer the new system. But if everyone you play with is in one camp or the other, then the debate doesn't even happen except on the internet (where to my knowledge the good argument vs. random blathering ratio is somewhere around 1:50) I have played with two long-running groups. One for 8 years and the other for 13 (and running). The biggest single challenge I had when switching was the realization that the new group enthusiastically embraced rules I thought were terrible, but still had fun. And had fun in ways my old group never did. Their paradigm made sense to them & after running with them for a while it made sense to me too.
  11. Re: "Bloodied" in HERO I seem to recall an old 4th edition gladiator type character from Alien Enemies had this exact power. He had extra PD, ED, & Con "Only when under xx Stun" to reflect his amazing fueled-by-determination comeback victories. His name was "The Champ" or something like that.
  12. Re: Order of the Stick So, if the old man had at least 5 wives.. has he only had 2 kids?
  13. Re: FUZION Kill Damage in Hero I don't think we should dismiss the Kills system so quickly. What it basically does is make the damage system logarithmic. Standard hero DCs are very linear. Back when Galactic Champions came out there were a lot of discussions around the "Superhero vs. Star Dreadnought" fights you see in comics like Green Lantern, Legion of Superheroes, and Silver Surfer. Basically, any respectable star ship that could survive a battle with another star ship had attacks and defenses that could incinerate even a 1000 point Cosmic Hero. If you gave the Cosmic Hero the power to defeat one of these ships then Cosmic Hero vs. Cosmic Villain battles ended really stressing the system. Galactic Champions got around this by laying out some optional damage rules that work but seem to bother the "I paid points for it, why doesn't my armor help me?" crowd. Maybe it's just me, but I like to destroy my Star Cruisers with the attack I paid for rather than waiting for them to collapse due to the "Vulnerable to PCs" complication it didn't even get points for. It's a "feel of the rules" thing for me. It sounds to me like BeZurKur's proposal of using the Kills system solves this rather neatly. You end up with attacks in the 18-22 DC range that vaporize tanks but only scratch power armor, without having to buy power armor that had 60 Resistant Defense. Sure, it alters the balance of Def vs. Damage in Hero, but it allows a certain type of bombastic damage output that hero doesn't do very well without costing a zillion points. There were a lot of stupid things in Fuzion, but that doesn't mean we should throw out every idea just because it originated there. To me a "does this campaign use Kills damage?" would be a campaign specific adjustment just like "does this campaign use hit locations?" or "do I have to pay points for equipment?" are campaign setting choices now. There are some games where that kind of damage output is really appropriate.
  14. Re: Order of the Stick Hmm. Half-Dragon attacking with poisoned magic weapons? Might just be someone trying to off the guys asking questions about the gate, but I'm guessing that V was the target from the beginning and this is somebody upset by all the Dragons she killed during her swim in the "deep end of the alignment pool"
  15. Re: Order of the Stick They aren't available as part of the archives, but Rich created two full books full of strips that go into the background of all the major characters. "On The Origin of PCs" goes into the Order's lives and "Start of Darkness" tells the story of Redcloak and Xyklon. I really recommend them both. Start of Darkness goes a lot into the family lives of Goblins and makes it explicit that in the world of the strip, all goblinoids were created by the gods for the express purpose of providing appropriate challenges for low level PCs. "The Dark One" RedCloak worships is actually a former Goblin Warlord who ascended to Godhood on a platform of "worship me and I will make us the equal of the PC races". The RedCloak worn by, well RedCloak is an artifact that stops it's wearer from aging and is worn by the high Priest of the Dark One so he can live long enough to see the Dark One's plan through to completion. Funny bit of Back-story: in the Start of Darkness a major part of RedCloaks's arc is his relationship with his eyepatch-sporting brother and the widening rift between them. His brother thought the sacrifices RedCloak was making personally in the name of "the plan" were not justified. Needless to say, readers of "Start of Darkness" can't help but draw parallels now that RedCloak is sporting the eye patch. Oh, and Xyklon? He was never a good guy. In his living youth he was just lower level. The actions he manipulates RedCloak into by the end of the story firmly establish who is in charge in their relationship. It has nothing to do with power and all about what each of them is willing to do in the name of power. It also firmly establishes that the lines RedCloak crossed that day to side with Xyklon will prevent him from ever making a serious attempt at destroying Xyklon. He has to believe it was necessary in order to live with himself.
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