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Thumper

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  1. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Vanguard in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    I'll agree that an easy victory with no challenge is not fun -- this is precisely why I like the HERO system.  It's very predictable because it's very well balanced, and makes it easy to design balanced encounters that provide challenge but allow for high probability of victory, which are the most fun. That said, saying an easy victory is not fun is not the same thing as saying losing is fun, and I think the position you're defending is always going to fall prey to hinging on that false dichotomy, that there is only easy victory and losing.  Obviously being challenged is  rewarding, and being challenged can result in losing, but being challenged and losing are not remotely the same thing.
     
    No one, when designing game elements in HERO, is acting on the maxim "Losing is the optimal outcome."  Personally, when I build anything in HERO I apply limitations using some balance between simulation concerns and readability concerns.  Generally I aim to apply the least necessary limitations (and advantages) to simulate how the power or object would function in cinematic reality.  I'm never designing with the goal of "losing."  Sometimes I apply limitations because I really, really need some more points  I also think your argument hinges on conflating "to" and "can."  Adding limitations to powers can contribute to losing, but nobody is adding limitations to cause their own loss.
     
    More importantly, if losing is fun, why spend any of your points at all?  Leave all your characteristics at their base (or hell, drop them to their minimums!), don't buy any skills, perks or powers, sell off your senses and movement, and play a blind, deaf and insensate lump of flesh that can barely crawl across the ground.  That absolutely maximizes your chance of losing.  That's what someone who really believed that being overwhelmed by challenges and failing to accomplish goals was the optimal outcome would do, so the fact that no one is doing that strongly suggests no one is building characters to lose.
     
    As for your last point, a meaningful death can certainly be rewarding -- but all that proves is that not all deaths are losses.  I've had characters experience death that was cool and meaningful and made for a great story.  And then there's Basilisk, a lizard-like mutant with a petrifying stare I created for the first Champions 3E campaign I ever joined.  While inside Dr. Destroyer's base, he walked around a corner and into one of the base's auto-defense turrets and was vaporized in one shot.  That happened about an hour into my session playing him.  That was a loss, because I really liked the character concept, spent hours building the character, and then he got wasted before I even got to take a single combat action with him.  I never got to use even one of his powers.  I was just the tagalong background character who dies to show the audience that this base is SRS BSNS, and spent the rest of the session making my next character.
     
    And actually, that next character also demonstrates why story games are bad for narratives.  That character was Dragon Master, a mystic master of the martial arts.  He had KS: All Martial Arts Styles.  The GM threw C.L.O.W.N. at us, and I squared off against Toe-Tapper.  He hit me with his cane and caught me in a Mental Paralysis with the special effect "causes irresistible need to dance."  I convinced the GM to let me use my KS to recall the repertoire of Capoeira, a Brazillian martial art developed by slaves who had to hide their practice as dance moves.  This allowed me to "dance fight" and whup Toe Tapper's butt while shaking my own.
     
    That's one of my favorite HERO stories, and it only happened because of the active GM of traditional games.  In a PtbA game, I would have attacked Toe Tapper with the intent to defeat him, roll to "Have A Fight," and either:
    Success (I defeat him.) Success with Failure (I defeat him, but am injured.) Failure (He defeats me.) There's no possibility of Toe Tapper getting a Success With Failure because he doesn't roll or make attacks.  There's absolutely no possibility of "Success That Is Turned Into Failure By The Player's Quick Thinking And Cleverness."  Systems like PtbA rob you, as a player, of chances to actually be clever, and replace them with opportunities to describe yourself being clever.  Which, imho, is a poor substitute for the real thing.
  2. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Vanguard in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    Oh, poor you.  You poor unfortunate soul.  You're playing a Story Game that is Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA).  Several years ago Vincent Baker (developer of kill puppies for satan: the rpg) released an utterly garbage post-apocalyptic game called Apocalypse World with a "game engine" called "Powered by the Apocalypse"  It has been since adapted to every genre you can imagine.  It's extremely easy to convert to other genres because, as you've noticed, the mechanics are an absolute joke and have zero substance.  The use of "Moves" and the "2d6+Modifiers to resolve everything" mechanics are the hallmarks of PbtA.  Monster of the Week is one of the more terrible versions of the PtbA system, but they get even worse -- just be glad you aren't playing Monsterhearts, which is basically Monster of the Week but one of your primary "Moves" is to have sex with the villain.
     
    There's a popular superhero Story Game called City of Mist that is supposed to be like a Dark Champions, noirish superhero game.  One of the moves is Investigate.  The way the rules are written, you can literally just ask any random person about the case and if you roll high, they tell you the answer to any question you ask.  Arrive at a murder scene, turn to another PC, ask "Who killed them?" and, RAW, if you roll an 11+ the other PC tells you who the murderer is.  There's no Streetwise skill, no Interrogate skill, no Forensic Medicine, no Contacts.  The player doesn't have to put any work into an investigation, doesn't have to think about how they can apply their skills to the solution.  All characters can just roll 2d6, add their Power Modifier, and investigation is over.  The sick thing about Masks is that you can complete an entire adventure with three dice rolls:  Investigate to learn the identity of the villain, Investigate to learn the location of the villain, Kick Some Ass (it's called something else but works exactly the same) to defeat the villain, adventure over.  Three good roles and you win!
     
    Story Games are based around the premise that having to learn rules is hard and that all combats are "slogs," and that only old, fat, socially maladjusted grognards could ever enjoy something as arcane and complicated as a "hit location chart."  Story Gamers operate under the assumption that the only part of roleplaying games that is enjoyable (to normal people, like them, as anyone who disagrees with them is mentally damaged in some way) is the collaborative creation of a narrative.  Like they don't want to game out a fight, they want to resolve the fight with one roll and then just described what happens based on the three broad possible outcomes.  Mostly all Story Games accomplish is highlighting how most people aren't really that great of storytellers. 
     
    My experience of story gamers is that they really, really hate HERO gamers.  We are their absolute enemy for two reasons, the first of which is fairly obvious.  HERO, with it's rulebooks thick enough to stop bullets,  is basically the antithesis of what they consider a good game.  They can't comprehend why a GM might want a game system that models physics and answers questions like "What happens to Character X if Character Y throws Charter X into Object Z?"  They don't understand why GMs and players want clearly defined powers that are balanced.
     
    The second reason they hate us, and us in particular, is more subtle.  Story Gamers love to believe that they invented whole new innovative concepts that rocked the gaming world and completely revolutionized gaming.  They've "introduced" concepts like "Stunts," where players get bonuses to their rolls for creatively describing attacks and actions, and "Metagame Control" or "Director Stance" where players can force add story elements to the GM's game world.  The problem is that Champions introduced all of these ideas 40 years ago.  Hunteds and DNPC?  Metagame Control.  They allow players to create Villains and NPCs and insert them into the campaign.  Stunts?  Yeah, HERO literally invented that, it's called "Surprise Move."  HERO's whole core concept of a combat system that discourages player morality and makes it more likely players will be captured than killed is narrative supporting game mechanics.  Hell, HERO introduced the whole idea of narrative supporting mechanics to gaming.
     
    And that's why they hate HERO gamers and HERO System.  Because they can lay all these complaints about how D&D doesn't support narrative focus and encourages hack'n'slash murderhoboing with its arcane rules, but HERO doesn't fit their patterns.  HERO has always cared about story and supporting story, and has always had built in mechanics to support an ongoing narrative.  Which means the only real criticism they can level against HERO is that "reading is hard" and "math is hard," which, uh, doesn't really support their whole "we're the smartest guys in the room" mentality.
     
    Tell your friend that you like him and find his setting interesting, but that Powered by the Apocalypse lacks depth and that the game is repetitive and boring, and you're not enjoying yourself.  Make it clear that it's not him or his setting you dislike, but the game system itself.  Then teach him how to play HERO.
  3. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Armory in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    I'll agree that an easy victory with no challenge is not fun -- this is precisely why I like the HERO system.  It's very predictable because it's very well balanced, and makes it easy to design balanced encounters that provide challenge but allow for high probability of victory, which are the most fun. That said, saying an easy victory is not fun is not the same thing as saying losing is fun, and I think the position you're defending is always going to fall prey to hinging on that false dichotomy, that there is only easy victory and losing.  Obviously being challenged is  rewarding, and being challenged can result in losing, but being challenged and losing are not remotely the same thing.
     
    No one, when designing game elements in HERO, is acting on the maxim "Losing is the optimal outcome."  Personally, when I build anything in HERO I apply limitations using some balance between simulation concerns and readability concerns.  Generally I aim to apply the least necessary limitations (and advantages) to simulate how the power or object would function in cinematic reality.  I'm never designing with the goal of "losing."  Sometimes I apply limitations because I really, really need some more points  I also think your argument hinges on conflating "to" and "can."  Adding limitations to powers can contribute to losing, but nobody is adding limitations to cause their own loss.
     
    More importantly, if losing is fun, why spend any of your points at all?  Leave all your characteristics at their base (or hell, drop them to their minimums!), don't buy any skills, perks or powers, sell off your senses and movement, and play a blind, deaf and insensate lump of flesh that can barely crawl across the ground.  That absolutely maximizes your chance of losing.  That's what someone who really believed that being overwhelmed by challenges and failing to accomplish goals was the optimal outcome would do, so the fact that no one is doing that strongly suggests no one is building characters to lose.
     
    As for your last point, a meaningful death can certainly be rewarding -- but all that proves is that not all deaths are losses.  I've had characters experience death that was cool and meaningful and made for a great story.  And then there's Basilisk, a lizard-like mutant with a petrifying stare I created for the first Champions 3E campaign I ever joined.  While inside Dr. Destroyer's base, he walked around a corner and into one of the base's auto-defense turrets and was vaporized in one shot.  That happened about an hour into my session playing him.  That was a loss, because I really liked the character concept, spent hours building the character, and then he got wasted before I even got to take a single combat action with him.  I never got to use even one of his powers.  I was just the tagalong background character who dies to show the audience that this base is SRS BSNS, and spent the rest of the session making my next character.
     
    And actually, that next character also demonstrates why story games are bad for narratives.  That character was Dragon Master, a mystic master of the martial arts.  He had KS: All Martial Arts Styles.  The GM threw C.L.O.W.N. at us, and I squared off against Toe-Tapper.  He hit me with his cane and caught me in a Mental Paralysis with the special effect "causes irresistible need to dance."  I convinced the GM to let me use my KS to recall the repertoire of Capoeira, a Brazillian martial art developed by slaves who had to hide their practice as dance moves.  This allowed me to "dance fight" and whup Toe Tapper's butt while shaking my own.
     
    That's one of my favorite HERO stories, and it only happened because of the active GM of traditional games.  In a PtbA game, I would have attacked Toe Tapper with the intent to defeat him, roll to "Have A Fight," and either:
    Success (I defeat him.) Success with Failure (I defeat him, but am injured.) Failure (He defeats me.) There's no possibility of Toe Tapper getting a Success With Failure because he doesn't roll or make attacks.  There's absolutely no possibility of "Success That Is Turned Into Failure By The Player's Quick Thinking And Cleverness."  Systems like PtbA rob you, as a player, of chances to actually be clever, and replace them with opportunities to describe yourself being clever.  Which, imho, is a poor substitute for the real thing.
  4. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from pinecone in dark champions was...   
    Copyright laws are broke as ....
  5. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from massey in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    In the Thumperverse (my own campaign setting), costumes came about due to a feedback loop between vigilantes and Hollywood.  Basically in the 30s, instead of the "Public Enemy Era" where bank robbers became folk heroes, the Thumperverse had the "masked vigilante era," where masked vigilantes who used guns and murder to solve the problem of rampant public and political corruption became really popular.  It started with one guy, he inspired copy cats, they started a trend, and suddenly by 1934 you had a dozen guys running around the country in fedoras and trenchcoats, wearing bandannas to hide their identities, taking out "untouchable criminals." 
     
    Hollywood began making movies about them, but found that the bandannas made it hard for audiences to understand the hero's expression, so they changed the bandanna to a domino mask.  Suddenly real vigilantes wearing domino masks started to appear.  Hollywood wanted their movie vigilantes to stand out from the crowd, and limited to black and white film, started adding details like an emblem sewn into lapel of the coat or a calling card with a logo.  They gave their heroes memorable names that played up the mystery,  like The Crimson Crimefighter and The Ghost of Justice.  Real life vigilantes followed suit.  And that's basically been going on ever since, with each new generation of heroes being inspired by Hollywood's portrayal of the previous generation.
     
    Eventually capitalism got involved and now in the modern Thumperverse almost all heroes have corporate sponsors, media reps, and and licensing deals, and costumes are trademarked and registered with a international registry.  Costumes started to go out of style in the 90s due to their increasingly corporate association, and for a while there was a growing number of heroes (and villains) who eschewed costumes, but generally they were so obnoxious about eschewing them that they ended up being widely perceived as hipster douchebags, which (along with the introduction of cheap, custom printed lycra bodysuits) help repopularize the traditional costume among millennial superhumans.
     
    I do really, really like the idea that costumes count as fair warning though.  I can 100% see some ****bird trying to sue a superhero because he broke his hand trying to punch the guy, and the hero using the defense "I was wearing a superhero costume, he should have understood that assaulting me could cause serious harm."
  6. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from death tribble in Create a Villain Theme Team!   
    Kimbell Lawton should have died when he was fourteen years old. Instead he grew up to become Gluttony. 
     
    History: Doctors had diagnosed Kimbell with a rare form of extremely aggressive childhood leukemia when he was six, and he'd beat it, and then beat it again when it returned a few years later.  When it came back a third time there wasn't enough of him left to keep fighting, and the doctors put his life expectancy at a little under nine months.  Unlike most parents, Kimbell's father -- a Las Vegas casino magnate with Mafia connections -- was in a position to do something about it.  He spent millions searching for a cure, and his search lead him to a laboratory in Southeast Asia, where a disheveled American ex-pat calling himself Doctor Amazo  promised he could cure Kimbell's cancer.  Amazo was true to his word, and Kimbell returned home cancer free.
     
    Very soon it became clear that Amazo's miracle cure had some unexpected side effects.  While multiple doctors confirmed he was in full remission, Kimbell's hair didn't grow back, his skin didn't regain its color, and he seemed incapable of gaining weight.  Still, a sickly child was a vast improvement over a dead child, and  Kimbell's parents were happy with the outcome...until they came out to discover Kimbell hunched the body of their maid, his hands and face covered in blood.  The next morning, Kimbell's mother noticed the color had returned to his cheeks and for the first time since the operation his eyes weren't dark rings and made the connection.    Kimbell's father assured her their boy would be fine, that he knew people who could help them keep Kimbell fed... 
     
    Powers/Tactics: Doctor Amazo is...not from around here.  Kimbell Lawton is a host to a genetically modified Klengathian bloodworm, a foot-long segmented parasite native to the planet Klengathu in the Frangolias Sector of Bandoonian space.   The bloodworm hasn't cured Kimbell's cancer, it's actually driven it into overdrive -- the bloodworm feeds on the cancerous cells in Kimbell's body.  But the cancer isn't enough, and thus the bloodworm drives its host to consume an appropriate substitute: human flesh.
     
    In order to facilitate this feeding, the bloodworm has modified its hosts body, making Kimbell faster, stronger, more durable than any human.  Kimbell's skin is elastic and extremely durable, allowing him to ignore small arms fire, knives and the like.  The bloodworm has effected a number of physiological changes in Kimbell to help him hunt and feed, including the ability to grow razor sharp claws, a second set of fang-like teeth, and distend his jaw so that he can bite targets. He can also cling to walls and contort his body in surprising ways.  In combat, Kimbell prefers to use stealth to approach his quarry, leaping onto them and grappling them before applying his bite.
     
    Appearance: Kimbell is tall, extremely gaunt male human in his late twenties.  He is bald, with deeply set dark eyes and an unhealthy pallor. As Gluttony he uses stage make-up to further whiten his skin and make the shadows around his eyes deeper.  His standard costume is a simple one-piece black bodysuit without hood or gloves.
     
  7. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Quackhell in Create a Villain Theme Team!   
    Kimbell Lawton should have died when he was fourteen years old. Instead he grew up to become Gluttony. 
     
    History: Doctors had diagnosed Kimbell with a rare form of extremely aggressive childhood leukemia when he was six, and he'd beat it, and then beat it again when it returned a few years later.  When it came back a third time there wasn't enough of him left to keep fighting, and the doctors put his life expectancy at a little under nine months.  Unlike most parents, Kimbell's father -- a Las Vegas casino magnate with Mafia connections -- was in a position to do something about it.  He spent millions searching for a cure, and his search lead him to a laboratory in Southeast Asia, where a disheveled American ex-pat calling himself Doctor Amazo  promised he could cure Kimbell's cancer.  Amazo was true to his word, and Kimbell returned home cancer free.
     
    Very soon it became clear that Amazo's miracle cure had some unexpected side effects.  While multiple doctors confirmed he was in full remission, Kimbell's hair didn't grow back, his skin didn't regain its color, and he seemed incapable of gaining weight.  Still, a sickly child was a vast improvement over a dead child, and  Kimbell's parents were happy with the outcome...until they came out to discover Kimbell hunched the body of their maid, his hands and face covered in blood.  The next morning, Kimbell's mother noticed the color had returned to his cheeks and for the first time since the operation his eyes weren't dark rings and made the connection.    Kimbell's father assured her their boy would be fine, that he knew people who could help them keep Kimbell fed... 
     
    Powers/Tactics: Doctor Amazo is...not from around here.  Kimbell Lawton is a host to a genetically modified Klengathian bloodworm, a foot-long segmented parasite native to the planet Klengathu in the Frangolias Sector of Bandoonian space.   The bloodworm hasn't cured Kimbell's cancer, it's actually driven it into overdrive -- the bloodworm feeds on the cancerous cells in Kimbell's body.  But the cancer isn't enough, and thus the bloodworm drives its host to consume an appropriate substitute: human flesh.
     
    In order to facilitate this feeding, the bloodworm has modified its hosts body, making Kimbell faster, stronger, more durable than any human.  Kimbell's skin is elastic and extremely durable, allowing him to ignore small arms fire, knives and the like.  The bloodworm has effected a number of physiological changes in Kimbell to help him hunt and feed, including the ability to grow razor sharp claws, a second set of fang-like teeth, and distend his jaw so that he can bite targets. He can also cling to walls and contort his body in surprising ways.  In combat, Kimbell prefers to use stealth to approach his quarry, leaping onto them and grappling them before applying his bite.
     
    Appearance: Kimbell is tall, extremely gaunt male human in his late twenties.  He is bald, with deeply set dark eyes and an unhealthy pallor. As Gluttony he uses stage make-up to further whiten his skin and make the shadows around his eyes deeper.  His standard costume is a simple one-piece black bodysuit without hood or gloves.
     
  8. Downvote
    Thumper reacted to Hugh Neilson in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    I am sticking with "it depends".  The team can lose, with the game still being fun.  This is especially so in most Supers games, where "we lost the battle" tends not to mean "we lost the war" or "the characters are dead - make new ones".  If losing is never fun, then the Talisman games we used to play, 8-10 of us, back in the day, must have been 80% to 90% no fun, as there could only be one winner.  Yet everyone (even the guys who just never won a game) wanted to play again next time.
     
    In RPG's, it can be pretty tough to define "losing", as the game goes on regardless.
     
     
    First, I will note that this did not happen in a storytelling game.  It happened in a "zap, you're dead" variety of a typical Gaming-focused RPG.  "Oops, you did not make perfect tactical decisions so you are dead.  Make a new character and try to play smarter next time."  Worse is the "random chance RPG", a great example being those early-edition D&D artifacts where you roll randomly and either gain great power or have your character crippled or killed.
     
    In a storytelling game, the term "fail forward" comes up a lot.  Yes, you failed (lost), but that should advance, not end, the story.  In a storytelling game, I would not expect a character to be vaporized out of the gate.
     
     
    One could also assert that your approach was weaseling out of the effect of the Mind Control.  You were told to dance, and you were affected by the mechanic of Mental Paralysis, which prevents attacking.  Yet you argued your way into not actually being affected by the Mental Paralysis mechanic.  Hard-core tactical gamers would scream bloody murder if such an interpretation were used against them when, really, by the rules, they had earned their victory.
     
     
    Again, I am coming back to "it depends".  My understanding (I play tactical, not storytelling games - I am too lazy to make up creative narratives after every die roll, so I often rely on the mechanics to adjudicate the degree of success and failure) is that storytelling games are broadly flexible.  So, in a storytelling game, I could certainly see a chain of events as follows:
     
    Thumper:  Dragon Master attacks Toe Tapper with the intent of defeating him to turn him over to the authorities.
    GM:  Ok - roll to Have a Fight
    Thumper:  Ugh!  a complete failure.
    GM:  OK, as your character closes in, Toe Tapper flashes out with his cane, and DragonMaster is consumed with an all-encompassing urge to dance, to the exclusion of all else.  Toe Tapper chuckles at your dance moves.
    Thumper:  Wait, Dragon Master is a master of all martial arts - including Capoeira, a Brazillian martial art developed by slaves who had to hide their practice as dance moves.  He will try to "dance fight" and whup Toe Tapper's butt while shaking his own.
     
    Hey, what a great storytelling moment.  Either DragonMaster should get an appropriate roll to pull that off, or it should just succeed automatically since it both flows with the direction in which the story is being told and is just plain cool.
     
    Kind of like a Hero game where my character rolls a successful Investigation skill roll.  Does it mean the whole mystery is laid out and explained for us, or does it move us one step closer, advancing the story?
     
    MOVING OFF-TOPIC - We've talked in the past about different game focuses, and how Hero could be modified to accommodate them.  Hero RAW focuses on combat as the main problem resolution mechanic.  As a result, it has a super-detailed, crunchy, granular set of combat rules.  But what if we wanted to play a game of court intrigue, where most problems will be resolved through social, not physical, combat?  Well, we really need a similarly granular set of rules for social interaction/conflict to  build the same level of drama and interest.  At the same time, we don't want 2 hour combats, so we could relegate physical combat to the Skills System (make opposed Dueling/Brawling skill rolls; make an Assassination skill roll at -6 due to the Duke's castle defenses).  Storytelling games, to me, really reduce all task resolution to simple, non-granular systems. 
     
    Not nearly as much room for tactics, and very little granularity.  But also no grindy, endless combats - the story keeps moving.
     
    Can we envision bad storytelling games/GMs/players?  Hell, yeah.  Can we honestly say we have never seen a bad Hero game/GM/player?  I certainly can't. 
     
    Are there some people who just can't stand the storytelling approach and want those more detailed mechanics?  Absolutely.  Will some other people hate the lengthy, granular Hero combat system no matter how well it is used?  Sure.  Hell, we have  a thread going on right now where someone just suggested 4e was the perfect level of rules, and subsequent editions have too many rules, so the optimal level of "crunch", even within a game system which, at its core, has not changed a lot through the editions, is not the same for every gamer, by any stretch.
     
    Seems like I am back to "diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks".
  9. Like
    Thumper reacted to Quackhell in Create a Hero Theme Team!   
    Lady In White
     
    Hattie Kittridge wears the bone white gloves that give her the powers of invisibility, intangibility, the ability to generate a chilling mist and to project fear into targets. She is much more secretive and less public than the rest of the team and isn't interested in living a second younger more glamorous life, but just tries to do good and then return to her normal life. Hattie has always been a curious sort and whenever she picked a book for the club it was always a mystery. This has extended into her hero career as she has often teams with Detective Valerie Alvarez to help solve murder cases as opposed to more flashy battles with supervillains. Hattie is also worried that the gloves may be altering their personalities the more they are worn and has tried to discover more about their origins as well as the background the magician who gifted them.
  10. Like
    Thumper reacted to Tom Cowan in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    hmm could we have home of giant monsters that could supply a Japanese film industry for over a century with humans in a sword and sorcery throw back with mystics, barbarians empire , and Snake men.. .SOOOO many snake men.  with the snake people worshiping those monsters as unto gods! Good thing there's no way to the surface that's wide enough for one of the monsters to get out... or IS there?
  11. Like
    Thumper reacted to death tribble in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    Vote Snake Men.
     
    Vote Snake Men.
     
    Vote Snake Men
  12. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Hermit in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    When did the first known superheroes/supervillains appear in Modern History
    In the Thumperverse, the first appearance of a superhuman in the modern era occurred in 1936 and Berlin Olympics, though most the world did not know what they were seeing.  Germany swept the field and won every Gold medal, fielding a team of athletes unrivaled by any nation.  The most shocking defeat was that of American sprinter Jesse Owens, who was widely favored to win after his record-shattering showing the year before.  Owens ran a record setting 100m dash, but was beat by more than a full second by the German sprinter.  It was only years later that Germany acknowledged the use of metahuman enhancements and Owens was finally awarded 4 gold medals in 1948. 
     
    The world changed on April 26, 1937, when the Nazis revealed their new weapon: the Überman known as Blitzkrieger, a flying Lightning Blaster who single-handily laid waste to the Spanish village of Guernica.  Footage of the attack was disseminated by the Nazis, and the world was caught in the grip of existential fear.  The ancient  gods had returned to Earth, and they were fascists.  Over the next five years, Germany and then Japan would unveiled dozens of the new "supermen."
     
    In America, the Department of War knew that war with Germany was inevitable, and worried that fear of the German supersoldiers would affect enlistment and morale when the time came.  Starting in 1939, they enlisted the Hollywood studios to produce propaganda films to blunt German propaganda.  Hollywood screenwriters invented the term "supervillain" and began churning out stories of lantern-jawed G-Men defeating the feeble super villains -- invariably presented as strung-out addicts who lacked manly fortitude and needed to get power from bubbling potions -- with a solid right cross.  These films were reasonably popular, but failed to capture the public imagination -- until Jewish film producer Hubert Selwick Jr. combined the new "supervillain" genre with the already existing "masked vigilante" genre and created The Eagle (1940, RKO Pictures), about a patriotic masked vigilante versus superhuman saboteurs and in doing so invented a whole new genre of film, that of the "costumed crimefighter."  The Eagle spawned dozens of knock-off films, but its most important contributor was made by costume designer Deborah Wheeler, who -- bored with the trenchcoat and fedora style that dominated -- turned to circus performers and professional wrestling for inspiration in her costume design, putting The Eagle in tights, trunks and a full mask.
     
    In 1941, days after the Japanese attacked  Pearl Harbor, FDR announced America was entering the war. He then revealed America's new secret weapon, American Eagle, the world's first "super hero."  American Eagle, or Captain James Jefferies, was the first American superhuman.  It was the War Department that decided he would be most effective at boosting morale with a code name and garish costume that imitated Wheeler's original design for The Eagle.  Over the next four years, America would field more than a dozen super soldiers, such as Firefight, Human Torpedo, and Tomahawk, and was able to effectively neutralize Germany's supersoldier program.
     
    After the war, the surviving American superhumans were celebrities, but not all of them were ready to return to civilian life and others became embroiled in scandal.  Firefight, perpetually trapped in a body made of flame, committed suicide, while The Human Torpedo was outed as a homosexual, and Tomahawk was convicted of murder after gambling debts forced him to do enforcement work for the Las Vegas mob.  Then, in 1947, American Eagle died of cancer.  By the end of the decade, they would all be gone, claimed by the same cancer.  Congressional investigations followed and the truth of America's super soldier program, it's connection to the Nazi superhuman experiments, and the immense cost in human life it had taken to create both nations superhumans completely turned the public off the idea of superhumans.  In 1949, Congress passed the Jefferies Act, forbidding the use of superhuman soldiers in the growing Korea War and bringing the "Golden Age of Superheroes" to a sad, sordid close.
  13. Haha
    Thumper got a reaction from DShomshak in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    In the Thumperverse (my own campaign setting), costumes came about due to a feedback loop between vigilantes and Hollywood.  Basically in the 30s, instead of the "Public Enemy Era" where bank robbers became folk heroes, the Thumperverse had the "masked vigilante era," where masked vigilantes who used guns and murder to solve the problem of rampant public and political corruption became really popular.  It started with one guy, he inspired copy cats, they started a trend, and suddenly by 1934 you had a dozen guys running around the country in fedoras and trenchcoats, wearing bandannas to hide their identities, taking out "untouchable criminals." 
     
    Hollywood began making movies about them, but found that the bandannas made it hard for audiences to understand the hero's expression, so they changed the bandanna to a domino mask.  Suddenly real vigilantes wearing domino masks started to appear.  Hollywood wanted their movie vigilantes to stand out from the crowd, and limited to black and white film, started adding details like an emblem sewn into lapel of the coat or a calling card with a logo.  They gave their heroes memorable names that played up the mystery,  like The Crimson Crimefighter and The Ghost of Justice.  Real life vigilantes followed suit.  And that's basically been going on ever since, with each new generation of heroes being inspired by Hollywood's portrayal of the previous generation.
     
    Eventually capitalism got involved and now in the modern Thumperverse almost all heroes have corporate sponsors, media reps, and and licensing deals, and costumes are trademarked and registered with a international registry.  Costumes started to go out of style in the 90s due to their increasingly corporate association, and for a while there was a growing number of heroes (and villains) who eschewed costumes, but generally they were so obnoxious about eschewing them that they ended up being widely perceived as hipster douchebags, which (along with the introduction of cheap, custom printed lycra bodysuits) help repopularize the traditional costume among millennial superhumans.
     
    I do really, really like the idea that costumes count as fair warning though.  I can 100% see some ****bird trying to sue a superhero because he broke his hand trying to punch the guy, and the hero using the defense "I was wearing a superhero costume, he should have understood that assaulting me could cause serious harm."
  14. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Quackhell in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    (I love how by answering these three questions out of order, I'm basically giving you the history of my setting.  These are great questions.)
     
    What is the main source of origins?
    After the Korean War, America entered into a period of civil strife and social upheaval as woman and blacks began chaffing against the constraints of the post-war social order, while a growing counter-culture challenged social mores in ways never contemplated.  To Dr. Thomas Leeds, an early pioneer in psychopharmacology working out of Harvard, it seemed that society was going mad and teetering on the edge of collapse.  Leeds became involved as a project leader in the CIA's MK:ULTRA program, attempting to develop an aerosolized mind control agent in order to suppress rioters and maintain law and order. 
     
    In 1959, after a series of failed experiments involving LSD-25, Leeds realized he needed to dose himself with LSD in order to better understand its effects and why he wasn't getting the results he wanted.  Later that night he prepared a 250 mic dose and experienced his first psychedelic trip while sitting on his living room couch.  While petting his wife's cat Marbles, Leeds had a life-changing realization that would fundamentally alter the world.  Leeds realized that he was evil, and that his entire life's work, all of his research, was a edifice to the most horrifying idea man could contemplate, the eradication of freedom. He decided that chemistry was meant to liberate mankind, not enslave it.
     
    Using his connections to the military and top secret clearance, Leeds uncovered the science behind the original supersoldier programs and rediscovered Formula P2, a powerful (and extremely carcinogenic) mutagen that provoked quantum evolution ("comic book mutation") in the 1 in 10 subjects who survived,  and almost half of these mutations were useful!  Working in his spare time, Leeds redesigned Formula P2 from the ground up, developing the compound Promethium 237 in 1963.
     
    Meanwhile, America was being drug into the Vietnam War and the counterculture was exploding into the mainstream.  One of the young people who got caught up in the cultural revolution was Alfie Huffman, a charismatic prankster with a knack for getting media attention. The problem was that Huffman was also a draft dodger, and couldn't risk showing his face in public. Thus American Turkey was born. Wearing an outlandish, psychedelic take on American Eagle's iconic costume, Huffman and his "Goonies" engaged in attention-grabbing pranks to protest the war, capitalism, whatever you got.  Huffman inspired copy cats, and there was a sudden explosion of bizarre counter-culture superheroes, like drugged-out stoner Galoopus Glumpy, sexual revolutionary Kittens Galore, and early gay rights pioneer Fairy ****sucker, who were less interested in fighting crime than fighting your bourgeois suburban worldview, maaaaaaan. 
     
    A handful of these Psychedelic Age of Heroes, like Atlanta-based anti-Klan crusader Black Power and New York's feminist vigilante The Fury, seem to take the idea much more seriously and committed them to social justice by any means necessary.  It was also around this same time that the teenage superheroes Power Boy, Sand Girl and Tiger Shark appeared, displaying genuine superpowers.  They were soon revealed to be the children of the WW2 era heroes, and were quickly joined other children of the surviving supersoldiers, forming the first Society of Superheroes.  It is these heroes who are often remembered as the "Silver Age of Superheroes," though at the time all were incredibly controversial and considered public menaces, a perception driven by the choice of a few of these second generation superhumans to use their powers for personal gain and to flaunt the law, like Omega-level terrakinetic David Allen Wade, aka Earth Master (who has the distinction of being America's first supervillain).
     
    Inspired by this strange turn in youth culture, Leeds invented the costume identity of The Aquarian Alchemist,  psychedelic guru and spiritual revolutionary, using the identity to develop a network of agents and lay the groundwork for his master plan.  In 1967, at the height of the Summer of Love,  he struck, unleashing aerosolized Promethium 237 into the subways systems of a dozen American cities.  His followers believed the gas would trigger a "psychedelic awakening," and were disappointed when all it seemed to accomplish was mass panic and widespread reports of hallucinations.  Leeds was identified by authorities, arrested and sentence to life in prison.
     
    It wasn't until the late 70s that the full effects of what Leeds had done became apparent.  Tens of thousands of Americans were now carriers of the Promethium Mutation and passed it on to their children, the Children of Aquarius.  Across the country, thousands of children entered puberty and began spontaneously developing superpowers.  By 1985, there were over 5000 active superhumans in America, and the number has only grown with every passing year.  Many of them have followed the lead of the Society of Superheroes and dedicated themselves to fighting crime, but many more seek power, money and celebrity.
  15. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Quackhell in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    When did the first known superheroes/supervillains appear in Modern History
    In the Thumperverse, the first appearance of a superhuman in the modern era occurred in 1936 and Berlin Olympics, though most the world did not know what they were seeing.  Germany swept the field and won every Gold medal, fielding a team of athletes unrivaled by any nation.  The most shocking defeat was that of American sprinter Jesse Owens, who was widely favored to win after his record-shattering showing the year before.  Owens ran a record setting 100m dash, but was beat by more than a full second by the German sprinter.  It was only years later that Germany acknowledged the use of metahuman enhancements and Owens was finally awarded 4 gold medals in 1948. 
     
    The world changed on April 26, 1937, when the Nazis revealed their new weapon: the Überman known as Blitzkrieger, a flying Lightning Blaster who single-handily laid waste to the Spanish village of Guernica.  Footage of the attack was disseminated by the Nazis, and the world was caught in the grip of existential fear.  The ancient  gods had returned to Earth, and they were fascists.  Over the next five years, Germany and then Japan would unveiled dozens of the new "supermen."
     
    In America, the Department of War knew that war with Germany was inevitable, and worried that fear of the German supersoldiers would affect enlistment and morale when the time came.  Starting in 1939, they enlisted the Hollywood studios to produce propaganda films to blunt German propaganda.  Hollywood screenwriters invented the term "supervillain" and began churning out stories of lantern-jawed G-Men defeating the feeble super villains -- invariably presented as strung-out addicts who lacked manly fortitude and needed to get power from bubbling potions -- with a solid right cross.  These films were reasonably popular, but failed to capture the public imagination -- until Jewish film producer Hubert Selwick Jr. combined the new "supervillain" genre with the already existing "masked vigilante" genre and created The Eagle (1940, RKO Pictures), about a patriotic masked vigilante versus superhuman saboteurs and in doing so invented a whole new genre of film, that of the "costumed crimefighter."  The Eagle spawned dozens of knock-off films, but its most important contributor was made by costume designer Deborah Wheeler, who -- bored with the trenchcoat and fedora style that dominated -- turned to circus performers and professional wrestling for inspiration in her costume design, putting The Eagle in tights, trunks and a full mask.
     
    In 1941, days after the Japanese attacked  Pearl Harbor, FDR announced America was entering the war. He then revealed America's new secret weapon, American Eagle, the world's first "super hero."  American Eagle, or Captain James Jefferies, was the first American superhuman.  It was the War Department that decided he would be most effective at boosting morale with a code name and garish costume that imitated Wheeler's original design for The Eagle.  Over the next four years, America would field more than a dozen super soldiers, such as Firefight, Human Torpedo, and Tomahawk, and was able to effectively neutralize Germany's supersoldier program.
     
    After the war, the surviving American superhumans were celebrities, but not all of them were ready to return to civilian life and others became embroiled in scandal.  Firefight, perpetually trapped in a body made of flame, committed suicide, while The Human Torpedo was outed as a homosexual, and Tomahawk was convicted of murder after gambling debts forced him to do enforcement work for the Las Vegas mob.  Then, in 1947, American Eagle died of cancer.  By the end of the decade, they would all be gone, claimed by the same cancer.  Congressional investigations followed and the truth of America's super soldier program, it's connection to the Nazi superhuman experiments, and the immense cost in human life it had taken to create both nations superhumans completely turned the public off the idea of superhumans.  In 1949, Congress passed the Jefferies Act, forbidding the use of superhuman soldiers in the growing Korea War and bringing the "Golden Age of Superheroes" to a sad, sordid close.
  16. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Spence in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    I'll agree that an easy victory with no challenge is not fun -- this is precisely why I like the HERO system.  It's very predictable because it's very well balanced, and makes it easy to design balanced encounters that provide challenge but allow for high probability of victory, which are the most fun. That said, saying an easy victory is not fun is not the same thing as saying losing is fun, and I think the position you're defending is always going to fall prey to hinging on that false dichotomy, that there is only easy victory and losing.  Obviously being challenged is  rewarding, and being challenged can result in losing, but being challenged and losing are not remotely the same thing.
     
    No one, when designing game elements in HERO, is acting on the maxim "Losing is the optimal outcome."  Personally, when I build anything in HERO I apply limitations using some balance between simulation concerns and readability concerns.  Generally I aim to apply the least necessary limitations (and advantages) to simulate how the power or object would function in cinematic reality.  I'm never designing with the goal of "losing."  Sometimes I apply limitations because I really, really need some more points  I also think your argument hinges on conflating "to" and "can."  Adding limitations to powers can contribute to losing, but nobody is adding limitations to cause their own loss.
     
    More importantly, if losing is fun, why spend any of your points at all?  Leave all your characteristics at their base (or hell, drop them to their minimums!), don't buy any skills, perks or powers, sell off your senses and movement, and play a blind, deaf and insensate lump of flesh that can barely crawl across the ground.  That absolutely maximizes your chance of losing.  That's what someone who really believed that being overwhelmed by challenges and failing to accomplish goals was the optimal outcome would do, so the fact that no one is doing that strongly suggests no one is building characters to lose.
     
    As for your last point, a meaningful death can certainly be rewarding -- but all that proves is that not all deaths are losses.  I've had characters experience death that was cool and meaningful and made for a great story.  And then there's Basilisk, a lizard-like mutant with a petrifying stare I created for the first Champions 3E campaign I ever joined.  While inside Dr. Destroyer's base, he walked around a corner and into one of the base's auto-defense turrets and was vaporized in one shot.  That happened about an hour into my session playing him.  That was a loss, because I really liked the character concept, spent hours building the character, and then he got wasted before I even got to take a single combat action with him.  I never got to use even one of his powers.  I was just the tagalong background character who dies to show the audience that this base is SRS BSNS, and spent the rest of the session making my next character.
     
    And actually, that next character also demonstrates why story games are bad for narratives.  That character was Dragon Master, a mystic master of the martial arts.  He had KS: All Martial Arts Styles.  The GM threw C.L.O.W.N. at us, and I squared off against Toe-Tapper.  He hit me with his cane and caught me in a Mental Paralysis with the special effect "causes irresistible need to dance."  I convinced the GM to let me use my KS to recall the repertoire of Capoeira, a Brazillian martial art developed by slaves who had to hide their practice as dance moves.  This allowed me to "dance fight" and whup Toe Tapper's butt while shaking my own.
     
    That's one of my favorite HERO stories, and it only happened because of the active GM of traditional games.  In a PtbA game, I would have attacked Toe Tapper with the intent to defeat him, roll to "Have A Fight," and either:
    Success (I defeat him.) Success with Failure (I defeat him, but am injured.) Failure (He defeats me.) There's no possibility of Toe Tapper getting a Success With Failure because he doesn't roll or make attacks.  There's absolutely no possibility of "Success That Is Turned Into Failure By The Player's Quick Thinking And Cleverness."  Systems like PtbA rob you, as a player, of chances to actually be clever, and replace them with opportunities to describe yourself being clever.  Which, imho, is a poor substitute for the real thing.
  17. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Quackhell in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    In the Thumperverse (my own campaign setting), costumes came about due to a feedback loop between vigilantes and Hollywood.  Basically in the 30s, instead of the "Public Enemy Era" where bank robbers became folk heroes, the Thumperverse had the "masked vigilante era," where masked vigilantes who used guns and murder to solve the problem of rampant public and political corruption became really popular.  It started with one guy, he inspired copy cats, they started a trend, and suddenly by 1934 you had a dozen guys running around the country in fedoras and trenchcoats, wearing bandannas to hide their identities, taking out "untouchable criminals." 
     
    Hollywood began making movies about them, but found that the bandannas made it hard for audiences to understand the hero's expression, so they changed the bandanna to a domino mask.  Suddenly real vigilantes wearing domino masks started to appear.  Hollywood wanted their movie vigilantes to stand out from the crowd, and limited to black and white film, started adding details like an emblem sewn into lapel of the coat or a calling card with a logo.  They gave their heroes memorable names that played up the mystery,  like The Crimson Crimefighter and The Ghost of Justice.  Real life vigilantes followed suit.  And that's basically been going on ever since, with each new generation of heroes being inspired by Hollywood's portrayal of the previous generation.
     
    Eventually capitalism got involved and now in the modern Thumperverse almost all heroes have corporate sponsors, media reps, and and licensing deals, and costumes are trademarked and registered with a international registry.  Costumes started to go out of style in the 90s due to their increasingly corporate association, and for a while there was a growing number of heroes (and villains) who eschewed costumes, but generally they were so obnoxious about eschewing them that they ended up being widely perceived as hipster douchebags, which (along with the introduction of cheap, custom printed lycra bodysuits) help repopularize the traditional costume among millennial superhumans.
     
    I do really, really like the idea that costumes count as fair warning though.  I can 100% see some ****bird trying to sue a superhero because he broke his hand trying to punch the guy, and the hero using the defense "I was wearing a superhero costume, he should have understood that assaulting me could cause serious harm."
  18. Thanks
    Thumper got a reaction from Scott Ruggels in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    I'll agree that an easy victory with no challenge is not fun -- this is precisely why I like the HERO system.  It's very predictable because it's very well balanced, and makes it easy to design balanced encounters that provide challenge but allow for high probability of victory, which are the most fun. That said, saying an easy victory is not fun is not the same thing as saying losing is fun, and I think the position you're defending is always going to fall prey to hinging on that false dichotomy, that there is only easy victory and losing.  Obviously being challenged is  rewarding, and being challenged can result in losing, but being challenged and losing are not remotely the same thing.
     
    No one, when designing game elements in HERO, is acting on the maxim "Losing is the optimal outcome."  Personally, when I build anything in HERO I apply limitations using some balance between simulation concerns and readability concerns.  Generally I aim to apply the least necessary limitations (and advantages) to simulate how the power or object would function in cinematic reality.  I'm never designing with the goal of "losing."  Sometimes I apply limitations because I really, really need some more points  I also think your argument hinges on conflating "to" and "can."  Adding limitations to powers can contribute to losing, but nobody is adding limitations to cause their own loss.
     
    More importantly, if losing is fun, why spend any of your points at all?  Leave all your characteristics at their base (or hell, drop them to their minimums!), don't buy any skills, perks or powers, sell off your senses and movement, and play a blind, deaf and insensate lump of flesh that can barely crawl across the ground.  That absolutely maximizes your chance of losing.  That's what someone who really believed that being overwhelmed by challenges and failing to accomplish goals was the optimal outcome would do, so the fact that no one is doing that strongly suggests no one is building characters to lose.
     
    As for your last point, a meaningful death can certainly be rewarding -- but all that proves is that not all deaths are losses.  I've had characters experience death that was cool and meaningful and made for a great story.  And then there's Basilisk, a lizard-like mutant with a petrifying stare I created for the first Champions 3E campaign I ever joined.  While inside Dr. Destroyer's base, he walked around a corner and into one of the base's auto-defense turrets and was vaporized in one shot.  That happened about an hour into my session playing him.  That was a loss, because I really liked the character concept, spent hours building the character, and then he got wasted before I even got to take a single combat action with him.  I never got to use even one of his powers.  I was just the tagalong background character who dies to show the audience that this base is SRS BSNS, and spent the rest of the session making my next character.
     
    And actually, that next character also demonstrates why story games are bad for narratives.  That character was Dragon Master, a mystic master of the martial arts.  He had KS: All Martial Arts Styles.  The GM threw C.L.O.W.N. at us, and I squared off against Toe-Tapper.  He hit me with his cane and caught me in a Mental Paralysis with the special effect "causes irresistible need to dance."  I convinced the GM to let me use my KS to recall the repertoire of Capoeira, a Brazillian martial art developed by slaves who had to hide their practice as dance moves.  This allowed me to "dance fight" and whup Toe Tapper's butt while shaking my own.
     
    That's one of my favorite HERO stories, and it only happened because of the active GM of traditional games.  In a PtbA game, I would have attacked Toe Tapper with the intent to defeat him, roll to "Have A Fight," and either:
    Success (I defeat him.) Success with Failure (I defeat him, but am injured.) Failure (He defeats me.) There's no possibility of Toe Tapper getting a Success With Failure because he doesn't roll or make attacks.  There's absolutely no possibility of "Success That Is Turned Into Failure By The Player's Quick Thinking And Cleverness."  Systems like PtbA rob you, as a player, of chances to actually be clever, and replace them with opportunities to describe yourself being clever.  Which, imho, is a poor substitute for the real thing.
  19. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Scott Ruggels in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    I'm not saying they are bad people for enjoying a different kind of game.  I'm saying that enjoying a different kind of game doesn't make them morally and intellectually superior to everyone else in the hobby.  There's a big difference between saying "You suck because you like [some thing]!" and saying "You are not superior to 99% of humanity because you like [some thing]."  Story Gamers don't suck because they like Story Games.  Story Gamers suck because collectively they act like if you don't like Story Games the only possible explanation is that you're a worthless subhuman who should be shunned  by society.
  20. Thanks
    Thumper got a reaction from Scott Ruggels in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    Oh, poor you.  You poor unfortunate soul.  You're playing a Story Game that is Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA).  Several years ago Vincent Baker (developer of kill puppies for satan: the rpg) released an utterly garbage post-apocalyptic game called Apocalypse World with a "game engine" called "Powered by the Apocalypse"  It has been since adapted to every genre you can imagine.  It's extremely easy to convert to other genres because, as you've noticed, the mechanics are an absolute joke and have zero substance.  The use of "Moves" and the "2d6+Modifiers to resolve everything" mechanics are the hallmarks of PbtA.  Monster of the Week is one of the more terrible versions of the PtbA system, but they get even worse -- just be glad you aren't playing Monsterhearts, which is basically Monster of the Week but one of your primary "Moves" is to have sex with the villain.
     
    There's a popular superhero Story Game called City of Mist that is supposed to be like a Dark Champions, noirish superhero game.  One of the moves is Investigate.  The way the rules are written, you can literally just ask any random person about the case and if you roll high, they tell you the answer to any question you ask.  Arrive at a murder scene, turn to another PC, ask "Who killed them?" and, RAW, if you roll an 11+ the other PC tells you who the murderer is.  There's no Streetwise skill, no Interrogate skill, no Forensic Medicine, no Contacts.  The player doesn't have to put any work into an investigation, doesn't have to think about how they can apply their skills to the solution.  All characters can just roll 2d6, add their Power Modifier, and investigation is over.  The sick thing about Masks is that you can complete an entire adventure with three dice rolls:  Investigate to learn the identity of the villain, Investigate to learn the location of the villain, Kick Some Ass (it's called something else but works exactly the same) to defeat the villain, adventure over.  Three good roles and you win!
     
    Story Games are based around the premise that having to learn rules is hard and that all combats are "slogs," and that only old, fat, socially maladjusted grognards could ever enjoy something as arcane and complicated as a "hit location chart."  Story Gamers operate under the assumption that the only part of roleplaying games that is enjoyable (to normal people, like them, as anyone who disagrees with them is mentally damaged in some way) is the collaborative creation of a narrative.  Like they don't want to game out a fight, they want to resolve the fight with one roll and then just described what happens based on the three broad possible outcomes.  Mostly all Story Games accomplish is highlighting how most people aren't really that great of storytellers. 
     
    My experience of story gamers is that they really, really hate HERO gamers.  We are their absolute enemy for two reasons, the first of which is fairly obvious.  HERO, with it's rulebooks thick enough to stop bullets,  is basically the antithesis of what they consider a good game.  They can't comprehend why a GM might want a game system that models physics and answers questions like "What happens to Character X if Character Y throws Charter X into Object Z?"  They don't understand why GMs and players want clearly defined powers that are balanced.
     
    The second reason they hate us, and us in particular, is more subtle.  Story Gamers love to believe that they invented whole new innovative concepts that rocked the gaming world and completely revolutionized gaming.  They've "introduced" concepts like "Stunts," where players get bonuses to their rolls for creatively describing attacks and actions, and "Metagame Control" or "Director Stance" where players can force add story elements to the GM's game world.  The problem is that Champions introduced all of these ideas 40 years ago.  Hunteds and DNPC?  Metagame Control.  They allow players to create Villains and NPCs and insert them into the campaign.  Stunts?  Yeah, HERO literally invented that, it's called "Surprise Move."  HERO's whole core concept of a combat system that discourages player morality and makes it more likely players will be captured than killed is narrative supporting game mechanics.  Hell, HERO introduced the whole idea of narrative supporting mechanics to gaming.
     
    And that's why they hate HERO gamers and HERO System.  Because they can lay all these complaints about how D&D doesn't support narrative focus and encourages hack'n'slash murderhoboing with its arcane rules, but HERO doesn't fit their patterns.  HERO has always cared about story and supporting story, and has always had built in mechanics to support an ongoing narrative.  Which means the only real criticism they can level against HERO is that "reading is hard" and "math is hard," which, uh, doesn't really support their whole "we're the smartest guys in the room" mentality.
     
    Tell your friend that you like him and find his setting interesting, but that Powered by the Apocalypse lacks depth and that the game is repetitive and boring, and you're not enjoying yourself.  Make it clear that it's not him or his setting you dislike, but the game system itself.  Then teach him how to play HERO.
  21. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Spence in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    I don't like Fate as a game, mostly because I don't like any system that isn't HERO and I particularly don't like games that rely on GM Fiat for conflict resolution (which Fate does in spades), but I absolutely love Fate as a character creation system for HERO.  In my last four campaigns I have had players use Fate to create their characters, then converted their Fate characters into HERO characters for actual game play.  I find HERO works much better when the GM is the only person allowed to build game elements, since HERO is essentially a programming code interpreted by the GM.  Players can (and should) contribute to the narrative and introduce story elements, but I really think the game works much better when only the person translates those story elements into game elements.
     
  22. Haha
    Thumper reacted to ScottishFox in Wealth without money   
    I find if I don't use a Pathfinder or D&D equipment cost sheet for these things the immersion damage to the players is not worth it.
     
     
  23. Like
    Thumper reacted to Pariah in A DC Animated-style HeroMachine   
    Hmm, you're right. It is missing something without the blue. And I forgot to put the logo on.
     
    Next iteration....
     
     

  24. Like
    Thumper got a reaction from Hermit in A superhero setting from Scratch   
    In the Thumperverse (my own campaign setting), costumes came about due to a feedback loop between vigilantes and Hollywood.  Basically in the 30s, instead of the "Public Enemy Era" where bank robbers became folk heroes, the Thumperverse had the "masked vigilante era," where masked vigilantes who used guns and murder to solve the problem of rampant public and political corruption became really popular.  It started with one guy, he inspired copy cats, they started a trend, and suddenly by 1934 you had a dozen guys running around the country in fedoras and trenchcoats, wearing bandannas to hide their identities, taking out "untouchable criminals." 
     
    Hollywood began making movies about them, but found that the bandannas made it hard for audiences to understand the hero's expression, so they changed the bandanna to a domino mask.  Suddenly real vigilantes wearing domino masks started to appear.  Hollywood wanted their movie vigilantes to stand out from the crowd, and limited to black and white film, started adding details like an emblem sewn into lapel of the coat or a calling card with a logo.  They gave their heroes memorable names that played up the mystery,  like The Crimson Crimefighter and The Ghost of Justice.  Real life vigilantes followed suit.  And that's basically been going on ever since, with each new generation of heroes being inspired by Hollywood's portrayal of the previous generation.
     
    Eventually capitalism got involved and now in the modern Thumperverse almost all heroes have corporate sponsors, media reps, and and licensing deals, and costumes are trademarked and registered with a international registry.  Costumes started to go out of style in the 90s due to their increasingly corporate association, and for a while there was a growing number of heroes (and villains) who eschewed costumes, but generally they were so obnoxious about eschewing them that they ended up being widely perceived as hipster douchebags, which (along with the introduction of cheap, custom printed lycra bodysuits) help repopularize the traditional costume among millennial superhumans.
     
    I do really, really like the idea that costumes count as fair warning though.  I can 100% see some ****bird trying to sue a superhero because he broke his hand trying to punch the guy, and the hero using the defense "I was wearing a superhero costume, he should have understood that assaulting me could cause serious harm."
  25. Sad
    Thumper got a reaction from Trechriron10 in In a game i don't like because a friend is running it   
    Two days ago, on a different forum, there was a discussion about Story Games and whether it was possible to "lose" in a Story Game.  The Story Gamers in the thread were simultaneously trying to argue that the "success with complications" was both "losing" and that it was what makes Story Games rewarding to play.  I pointed out that defining the same thing as both "losing" and "what makes the game rewarding to play" was self-contradicting unless you're some kind of masochist -- nobody plays a game hoping to lose.
     
    This was a pretty devastating counterargument that demolished the argument they were making, so I was then told that I was "basically confessing that I  can't contribute anything interesting to a narrative" and that I had never "played any game with an actually good group."  Those are direct quotes.  And the a-holes honestly thought they weren't being insulting and condescending.
     
    I have never had a pleasant encounter with Story Gamers.  As soon as I tell them that I enjoy all aspects of gaming (gamist, narrativist and simulationist) and want a game that provides a balance of each, and that I find Story Games's narrow focus on narrative only removes enjoyable aspects of gaming while highlighting the fundamental flaw of narrative in games (i.e. most gamers are not great storytellers, and a randomly generated narrative constructed by a committee of mediocre storytellers tends to be bad), the only response I ever get is being told I am essentially a witless dullard and that every single person I have ever gamed with is also a witless dullard, with the strong implication that the story gamers are all brilliant storytellers who effortlessly craft griping narratives (and yet none can point to the popular works of fiction derived from Story Game sessions...) and only know other genius intellects such as themselves.  I don't think they are capable of not being condescending assholes.
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