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zslane last won the day on February 18

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About zslane

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    The Monster From the Clock

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  1. There have been countless attempts to overturn D&D's nomenclature for everything from "class" to "level" and everything in between, and they've all pretty much failed. I think the whole "race" vs. "species" windmill is simply not worth tilting. I feel that fantasy races, along with magic and fantastical beasts are what make a fantasy setting feel like fantasy. Without those elements, the game merely feels like alt-history.
  2. You're still getting less of the original full frame 4:3 broadcast image though. Compositionally it won't suffer thanks to the way Kenneth Johnson shot it, but I'd rather see a full 4:3 image letterboxed on the sides.
  3. Finally got around to watching John Wick 3: Parabellum (on blu-ray). It was okay, I guess. I wasn't that impressed with it to be honest. Maybe it's because these sequels are all continuations of the story that began with the first film, and so they all suffer from a grinding same-ness. But I also think the third installment suffered in other specific ways: It felt too long to me. It didn't need to be two hours long for the story it was telling. 90 minutes would have been sufficient. Twice I caught myself looking at the clock and pausing the movie to see how much was left. A variation on the above theme, there were too many fight set pieces and they typically went on too long. I call this Pirates of the Caribbean Syndrome. The structure of the movie felt too much like Game of Death Meets The Warriors. John Wick was either making his way up a proverbial pagoda, fighting enemies on each level, or he was being stalked and attacked by one gang after another as he made his way through New York. All this did was make me want to go watch those other two movies instead. Many fans will call it world-building, but to me the world of John Wick has become convoluted and somewhat bloated, with each movie adding more layers of hierarchy and more protocols and bureaucrats (like the adjudicator). It is straining under the weight of its own mythology, IMO. The fight choreography has dipped in quality IMO. Wick himself is far less efficient than in the first film (especially in terms of ammunition discipline...and no I'm not referring to the sequence where he faced agents with improved armor), and many of the fight moves he--and especially Halley Berry--performed simply weren't convincing. In fact, every time I saw a fight involving blades of any kind I just sorta tuned out because those fights should have been over in seconds. This chapter of the story blew a golden opportunity to take the events of the second act and make a bold, exciting plot pivot in the third act. Instead it stayed on its rails and took us nowhere interesting or surprising. This plot pivot is sorta hinted at in the final scene, but it is being saved for another sequel, and it feels only half-baked to me in any event. I did like Halley Berry's dogs though.
  4. Ha! And I thought I was going to be the only one to recommend this one!
  5. While I admire the artistry inherent in the page layout and design of modern RPG books like D&D and Pathfinder, I also find them difficult and unpleasant to read. All those background textures and small typefaces and random pieces of artwork create a wildly cluttered page. As spartan as it may appear, I still feel that the 4e BBB hits the sweet spot in terms of clear presentation and appealing aesthetics.
  6. The only downside I can see to the first version is that of bookkeeping. Remembering to apply subsequent missile hits on future Segments could end up being quite cumbersome in practice. But hey, try it and see how it works!
  7. Fair enough. That's a plan I could get behind.
  8. I don't disagree with your general thesis, but I have to say that designing/building characters was as fun as playing them for me. The build rules were half the game, and half (maybe more) the reason I was addicted to Champions. I don't think I would have been so utterly consumed by the game if my first introduction to it was through an example of play minus the build rules (i.e., a "micro-campaign" with pregen characters). And while I acknowledge that removing the, er, stress of learning how to make a character may help a lot of newcomers try the game, I strongly believe that only those who immediately gravitate towards the build rules (and probably would have been quite comfortable with them right from the start) will stick with the game long term. In other words, I am unconvinced that putting Champions on Easy Mode will help retain new players, in any significant numbers, even if it succeeds in getting them to give it a try.
  9. That's interesting because my 1st edition has a copyright date of 1981. How did you manage to get a copy before 1981?
  10. Your timeline differs from mine. 1st edition came out in 1981 and 2nd edition came out the next year in 1982. I started playing in 1983 and I'm not sure this particular group ever played 1st edition.
  11. If it takes that long...or even seems like it will take that long, then the system is probably not going to be your jam. Champions can be for anyone, but it isn't for everyone. I got lucky in that the GMs I played with when I first discovered the game in the early '80s were experts at the game before I arrived at their tables. I don't know how they mastered it so quickly (it had only been out about a year or so), but I suspect that (a) they were exceptional GMs in general and, (b) something about Champions just spoke to them and seemed natural and easy to them. Those are the kinds of GMs who are best suited to running the game. If it's a struggle to master the game, much less GM it like a boss, then maybe it's worth considering a different game system. I mean, I tried to wrap my head around the RIFTS game system once, and decided it just didn't click with my brain. You'll never see me trying to GM that one (you'll probably never see me trying to play it either).
  12. Unless the space involved is going to be used for combat, I tend to agree with Spence. What's the point of maps made to miniatures scale if it's just for reference? However, if the environment is going to host a battle, then out comes the vinyl battlemat and the minis and a to-scale drawing of the space.
  13. I kinda feel this asks a different question than the one posed by the situation I was responding to. Making a game inviting to new players is mostly a content/presentation issue, IMO. And while presentation can go a long way towards making a complex system more easily digestible (or not, as has been the case with the last two editions of the HERO System in my view), nothing short of altering the game significantly is going to make Champions easier to play or GM. Especially to GM. There are simply too many options in the game. As a GM, it isn't enough to know how the powers, maneuvers, and actions work, you have to know how they work in combination with each other, how they work in various situations, and how they might affect Complications. For example, it is really easy to forget that one of your villains has a Susceptibility to Presence Attacks and consequently doesn't cower in awe, as he should, at the superhero who lays down a decent, but not overly impressive, Presence Attack. The scene/combat could go in entirely the opposite direction because of this oversight. While you could make the argument that GMing is tough no matter what game you're talking about, in my experience Champions stands above most because of the far greater power-interaction space it presents compared to most other RPGs.
  14. I avoided trying to GM Champions in the first several years that I played because doing it--and more importantly, doing it well--is incredibly challenging and requires a mastery of the rules that I simply didn't have. It also requires one to juggle lots of balls all at once; it is hard enough to play a single superhero effectively (in combat) as a player. It is incredibly difficult to do so with an entire team of supervillains all by oneself as GM. And my philosophy is that if I can't GM well, then I'm not going to GM at all. I might suggest you let someone else be GM for a while, and reserve GMing duties for when you've got a lot more experience with the system under your belt.
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