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Everything posted by BoloOfEarth

  1. Flash It depends. If Binder had a Flash attack (defined as a blob of glue in the target's face), it would be his OCV versus the target's DCV. Ankylosaur's Flashbang (sight and hearing) is an Explosion, so it is targeted on a hex. The effects rolled are the number of phases the target is blinded (minus their Flash Defense, if any). Look at p. 226-227 for details on Flash effects. Basically, it all depends on (1) whether they have targeting senses that aren't affected, and (2) whether they make a non-targeting PER roll. In general, the target is 1/2 OCV if they don't have a usable targeting sense, and either 0 DCV, 1/2 DCV, -1 DCV, or full DCV depending on the circumstances and PER roll.
  2. I ran a game where one player would roll his dice individually, and after the first two would say "only a 6 can hurt me now." And of course, he then rolled a 6 almost every time. Eventually, as a freebie I gave him an Overall Level with Incantations ("Only a six can hurt me now").
  3. Forgot some things Consider some team-ups. Both Cyclone and Ankylosaur have Radar, so if Anky dropped smoke on the heroes (your listing didn't mention many enhanced senses), they can blast them. If you position Cyclone so that a wall is behind the target, that 10d6 Double Knockback against a blinded target (after Anky's Flashbang) will do double duty. "I hit you... you hit the wall." Check out Knockback Damage on p. 281. Oh, and UP BINDER'S DEFENSES! I mean, really. I've seen VIPER agents with better armor. Forget trying to hurt the brick. Hit him with a Flash, then a good Entangle. Blackstar can Grab and crush somebody with his DI on. With all levels on OCV, he has an effective OCV of 9 with a Grab. (Don't try this on Spiritwalker; teleport beats a grab any day.) Also, his DI puts him at 36 PD/ED. Just make sure the floor can support him in this form. Or he could throw the grabbed character at another character (like Brimstone with that Damage Shield) to hurt two at once.
  4. Making the characters easy targets If the player characters' high DCV is a problem, here are several ideas: First, as somebody pointed out, is using Area Effect attacks, of which the Ultimates have plenty. I would have one Ultimate throw an AE attack at a hero (or heroes) who have already acted that phase, while the other Ultimates hold actions. If the target(s) decide to Dive for Cover, note this text on p. 260: "...regardless of what form of movement the character uses, he is considered to be prone at the end of the Maneuver... He must spend a Half Phase to get to his feet (or get his bearings) and is at 1/2 DCV until he does so." And if the heroes had to Abort their next action to Dive for Cover, that means they don't get to move for a while, all the while sitting there at 1/2 DCV. Voila! Instant, easy-to-hit target. As soon as the target (or targets) dive for cover to avoid the AE attack, the other Ultimates target the sitting duck(s). Warning: this will really only work once, maybe twice if the players are tired or dim, so make it count. This is a good way to start the fight, since all of the Ultimates will be up and can be waiting for the heroes (holding a prior action). Next, use some secondary powers to throw your players for a loop. Few people remember that Blackstar can turn Desolid, too. If he held his action until the hero starts to throw his punch (or better yet, tries a move-through), then turns Desolid... Slick's Change Environment should make it hard for running players to move around, and if they miss their DEX roll, they end up prone (and 1/2 DCV). Third, set the stage. The Ultimates should pick the fight location to take advantage of their strengths. An area with lots of metal railings or a metal floor for Thunderbolt to teleport along. Wide open spaces for Slick to move, and for Anky to shoot plenty of Explosions. High ceilings for Binder and Cyclone to stay out of reach. (It looks like most of your players' characters are ground-bound.) Fourth, villains get Experience too. Don't be afraid to add a skill or power to surprise the players. Clinging for Thunderbolt, or a small gadget pool for Binder, or DCV levels in flight for Cyclone. Don't forget Starbird, either. Some hired goons firing from above can be a real irritant. Finally, note that most of the Ultimates have Teamwork skill. A few coordinated attacks can make a world of difference (especially against the aforementioned sitting ducks). I hope this all helps. (Also, I hope your players don't check out this thread...)
  5. Universal theories I introduced my players to a for-hire villain named Dr. Discus (borrowed from a friend). Dr. Discus has a rather versatile disc gun and other gadgets, along with a pet theory that he believes answers everything from the sun's low neutrino emissions to what happens to socks in the dryer. Throughout combat, he tries to interest the players in this Theory of the Universal Discal Constant. This immediately started irritating one of the player characters, which caused two other player characters to ask Dr. Discus questions about his theory mainly to make the first guy mad. It didn't help any that Dr. Discus was doing pretty well in the fight, especially against that first player character. Finally, the player mutters, "That's it. I'm going to introduce him to my Theory on Gliding Hotel Furniture."
  6. Hard-luck Thief I played in a Fantasy Hero game long ago, and drew up a half-elven thief. On paper, the character was pretty good. Too bad that I couldn't roll worth beans whenever I played that character. We were exploring a dungeon with numerous traps. All of the other characters, including those without Stealth and Concealment, managed to avoid every trap. My character got his foot chopped off by a floor trap, a crossbow bolt in the forehead (luckily he wore a helmet), and an arrow in the shoulder. We had to make two trips back to town, each time visiting a priest with healing spells, just to keep my character alive. In a later game, my character was grabbed and taken before the top guys in the Thieves Guild because we had found the Master Thief (already dead) in the aforementioned dungeon, and my character had taken his (magical) lockpicks and thieving tools. When the guild accused me of killing the Master Thief, I showed them my wounds and scars, then said, "Do you really think I'm competant enough to kill anybody, let alone the Master Thief?!" They let me go.
  7. Newspapers I also (try to) have a newspaper for each game session, for many of the reasons noted by others. I used to just read news blurbs at the start of every game, but a newspaper allows me to provide a bit more detail, as well as flesh thoughts out in my mind. It also allows the players to read them at their leisure, since all six are rarely paying attention at the same time. And as somebody else pointed out, sometimes the players are more interested in the "filler" articles than what I planned to run, causing me to go in a different direction than I expected. Jayde, I love the idea of players submitting articles for extra experience points. Consider the idea stolen... er, I mean borrowed. In addition to covering what they had done before, perhaps some articles could be GM challenges -- the player writes up something that the GM has to turn into an adventure. Unfortunately, I can't attach an example of one of my newspapers, as they are PDF files and that file extension is not supported by the boards. Perhaps it's all part of Foxbat's Master Plan...
  8. Faster Combat I'd like some suggestions on ways to handle mass combat, the VIPER way. Some way to deal with 40-50 agents duking it out with a superhero team, without having to roll 40-50 times every phase, but without fully losing individual agent flavor or weapons variety. I love VIPER, and have used them in every campaign I've run. The 4th Ed VIPER sourcebook was one of the best, IMO. But it's hard to run scores of agents without bogging down the combat slower than normal. For sidebars: the flavor bits from the 4E book were great. My personal favorite was the CLOWN punching bags. Oh, and a list of possible things VIPER (as an acronym) stands for.
  9. From players in my game: (already rolled two dice, about to roll the third) "Only a six will hurt me now." (When the players are running out of ideas or bored) "We go to Paris, France." (Facing off against her Hunted) "He's MINE!" (just before she got blasted into unconsciousness)
  10. As a GM who allowed a player to buy the VPP version for his character, I can attest that it is not necessarily abusive, depending on how you handle it. First of all, the person he is acquiring the skill from will know that he was the target of a mental attack (barring massive Advantages or special care). He will also know, generally, where the mentalist is. Most mentalists that I "know" (game-wise) avoid advertising their presence like the plague. Thus, the mentalist tends to police him/herself. Second, the player made sure it took time to acquire the skill (which I heartily endorsed). It won't be a 1-phase action, which limits the usefulness in emergency situations. Finally, it allows for some really cool roleplaying opportunities. For instance, the PC in question once used the skill to acquire the skill to perform an exorcism (from a priest who was performing an exorcism), expecting that Dark Seraph would show up and interrupt the proceedings. The whole thing played out wonderfully. It's not something I would do lightly, but if the player and GM approach it the right way, it's not bad.
  11. Accuse him of killing your father, and tell him to prepare to die.
  12. So I guess "Kidnap Robin" is completely out of the question?
  13. I also like the idea of HUAC being the name of the individual and the group. So how about: the Humble Un-American Coalition (for the group) and the Historian Unearthing American Corruption or the Herald Upsetting American Complacency (for the individual)?
  14. Re: MERIQUAI FALLS -- What Do *You* Want To See? Oh My God! Crimson-Hawk is secretly... FOXBAT!!! Seriously, this all sounds great to me. If there's any space left over, I might suggest maps of key, unique locations. I'm a sucker for new places to stage an adventure climax. I love the idea of "villain options" for NPC heroes. Great idea!
  15. I played in a private eye game eons ago, in Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes. The character I rolled up was mind-numbingly average and underskilled. However, when it came time to roll for money and extra stuff, I ended up independently wealthy and (oddly enough) a member of lower nobility (a British lord). The GM didn't like my partner (a freelance journalist), so he decided to set us on an adventure for the British secret service. We completed the mission and left on a British ship for home. That's when the ship's captain took my character aside and told me that none of this could be reported, implying that I had to kill my partner! The two player characters went out on deck so I could try and talk him into not reporting what happened. He was agreeing, but the GM didn't like that, so one of the sailors shot my partner. Blam, dead. Then pointed his gun at me. I was pissed (as was the other player), so I put my own gun to my own head and said (a la Blazing Saddles) "Don't move or the Lord gets it!" The GM was flabbergasted, and I said that should be the reaction of the sailor. However, he had the guy say, "You're right. One move and he gets it." So I looked the GM in the eye and said "Okay, I pull the trigger." The look on his face was priceless -- almost as priceless as mine when I rolled snake eyes for damage. Yep, the character srurvived a .38 lobotomy. I decided that, from that point on, the character would refer to any new partner by the name of his first partner, just to drive the GM nuts. Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately) we stopped playing MSPE at that point, and I never gamed with that GM again. Too bad, it would have been a great running gag.
  16. My first Champions GM (God bless you, Martin, wherever you are) had a rule that, if you saved up 50 EP, you could have a nuclear accident and rewrite the character within reason. Since Bolo was only my second character (we won't even talk about GI Jones, my first character), the original writeup needed a lot of fine-tuning, so I saved up my EP until I had enough. When the time came, I set aside a nice chunk of points (100+ IIRC) and told Martin to do what he thought best with them. He could alter existing powers I had chosen, add new ones, whatever. He came up with two neat things I loved: a teleport that warped around metal (the character had electrical powers) and a set of backup bolos (a multipower with 8-10 slots that were all a mystery to me). I had lots of fun with that, but I agree that you need a GM you can trust.
  17. Anybody targeted by an Ego Attack or Mind Scan automatically knows the source of the attack, and anybody with a mental power or somehow can justify buying Mental Awareness may see the attack (unless the power is bought IPE). Anybody hit by other mental attacks and then breaks free knows the source of the attack at that time. And most of the time, *anybody* aware of a mental attack screams it out to his/her teammates. In a superhero game, it's kinda like calling in artillery or an airstrike. As a GM, I'm a big non-fan of Sniper Mentalists unless they have next to no defenses. I refrain from using NPC mentalists that way unless it's key to a plot (which is rare), or a PC mentalist is overusing that tactic. Sorry for going off topic. Back to the discussion at hand.
  18. Considering both technobabble and game mechanics, I'd say a burst of ultra-bright light (AVLD vs. Sight Flash Defense, Affects Desolidified), bright enough to cause pain. Or a sonic disruptor (same thing, but vs. Hearing Flash Defense). Unless they're deaf or blind, they're still seeing and hearing the real world, so SFX based on those senses should transfer over. Or for the ultra-tech crowd, how about a gravitic shear grenade? (As GM, I'd give it a -0 Limitation that it doesn't affect Astral Projections; I'm not sure on the Dimensional Shift, though it seems they're still subject to gravity.) The reality is that the GM has to set the level of credibility, including with Affects Desolid. As GM, I've ruled some things in direct and complete opposition to the rules simply because SFX or the situation took precedence. That's the GM's job. Universal *anything* is a load of hooey in the HERO system. There is no "Invulnerable" or "Unstoppable" in HERO, though you can come close if you throw enough points at it. Not in a Multipower it doesn't. A 60-point pool gives you a mere 8d6, less if you have other Advantages. innominatus, for one. I have to run, so I can't continue with this right now. Suffice to say, I'm not trying to hose the Desolid guy. I was just trying to point out a possible way to affect the character *without* resorting to the Mage and Mentalist of the Day. Affects Desolid isn't common in my games. Just a suggestion.
  19. I don't know if your games are different from the ones I've played in or run, but the mentalist seems to be Target #1 every time, especially to the person(s) that can only be affected by said mentalist. Even people with Mental Defense seem to want to trounce the mentalist first. Martial Artists, Bricks, and high-flying Energy Projectors all fear the Mentalist due to the advantages of mental powers cancelling out *their* advantages. Somebody should start a Mentalist Anti-Defamation League or something. Mages come next on the To-Hit parade owing to the fact that most are very versatile. Pity the poor mage/mentalist. Sucks to be him. (Edited to correct spelling error.)
  20. First of all, I'm assuming from Fionan's post that the character spends much (if not all) of the time Desolid. It doesn't say that explicitly, but if the player makes it possible for the character to attack while Desolid, they're not likely to spend much time any other way. Next, note that I said "occasionally" as to agents with Multipower weapons. I've also used Variable Advantage to fit various +1/2 Advantages (AP, Penetrating, etc.) onto a gun to simulate different types of ammo. However, the presence of *any* advantage has to be feasible. Looking through the 4th Edition VIPER sourcebook, I see two Affects Desolid weapons, plus the agents in the BBB had an Affects Deolid weapon too. Any reasonably large agency (including the government ) would expend money and effort to handle all enemies, including (or especially) those that are difficult to hit or harm. Such weapons shouldn't be common, but they should at least be available. As to the cost of Desolidification affording them some protection, it does. That +1/2 only makes it *possible* to hit the character. It doesn't do anything to increase probability to hit or the level of damage. In fact, if you're going off a point limit, this guarantees the attack will be lower than normal. A 60-point cap means you only have an 8d6 attack. Hardly something to leave heroes quaking in their boots, even at low defense levels. (At average 28 STUN, it wouldn't even CON-stun somebody with 15 total ED and 13 CON.) As to attacking innocents to force him to solidify, in my experience the desolid guy stays that way unless he's the *only* one that can save the civilians. I guess the reasoning is, that's what teammates are for. If Desolid is the character's primary defense, he isn't going to drop it unless it's absolutely necessary. Let's not forget that the character may *always* be Desolid, making that strategy fairly moot.
  21. Given the wonderful versatility of Multipowers, I occasionally arm agents with Multi-weapons. And given the decent chance of Desolid escape hatches, I've had agents with Affects Desolid in one of the slots. (Just because that character isn't known doesn't mean they haven't run into other heroes with Desolid...) I've been tempted to throw an Entangle with AD (a neural scrambler) into the mix, too. So it doesn't have to be magic or mental. It can be multi, too.
  22. I agree as to preferring a paper copy, but I just use my handy-dandy Hewlett Packard subsidy from work to get my Digital Hero fix. (Kinda like the older Xerox subsidy.) I bring in a ream of paper once in a while to cover the paper used. I've done enough work at home to feel guilt-free over toner use, since they certainly aren't paying anything toward my home computer. At 64 pages an issue (not counting covers), and you only like or use about half of that, it still comes out over 300 pages for $30. A little more if you add in paper and toner, but still a good deal. Plus you get to see the playtest stuff, which is a nice bonus.
  23. Re: My Millenium City feedback... I agree with Monolith that there's enough city for two teams plus some independents. I've been running a Champions game in Millennium City for the past 9 months or so. (It's great to finally have the book for more info.) The Champions haven't become an issue yet, except for an occasional mention in the news, and very occasional one-on-one PC-NPC interaction. In Digital Hero #6, Dale Robbins had a good article on Iconic Characters. Granted, his was relating to Meriquai Falls, but if you change a few lyrics, the song is still the same. It all depends on how the GM uses, abuses, or ignores the iconic characters. Dale gave some suggestions on possible ways to handle the iconics. As to the Dark Avenger thing, I'd be tempted to have the bad guys fear the PC more than Nighthawk. Or set up a brooding contest between the two. A little competition can be a good thing. One thing I'm toying with doing (though my players may argue with me over it) is to split the team -- half the players play their own characters allied with the other half playing some Champions. Then turn around and flip-flop them -- the other half plays their own characters while the first half plays the other Champions -- during the same span of time. (Kinda like a crossover issue.) I ran a game set in NYC, and there was another team (the Guardians) protecting the city before the PC heroes arrived. It wasn't a problem; in fact, there was some friendly competition, and some great roleplaying when most of the Guardians were killed on 9/11 and the surviving two had to come to grips with things (with the PC heroes' help). It all depends on how you handle things. If the GM keeps pulling the Champions into things, stealing the spotlight or saving the PCs, then yes, it's a problem. However, the real problem there is the GM, not the Champions. If the Champions weren't around, you'd probably have the same problem, but with PRIMUS or somebody else substituted for the iconic characters.
  24. I've been running in Millennium City since before the book came out. (This is partly because I live less than an hour from Detroit and ran several campaigns there.) At least now I have a map! Mine is more walkway-intensive than the official version appears, based on comments made on these lists when Darren was asking for input and suggestions. In my MC, you can practically walk across the city without touching the ground. In my campaign, I added the Boblo Blimp. (It's been submitted to Digital Hero as the Bayside Blimp, moved to Vibora Bay at Darren Watts' suggestion.) A dirigible casino and tourist trap, its been the setting of several battles and had a side role in several other adventures. (And yes, I know that it's not a blimp, but I have reasons for calling it that.) I also plan to do something with the salt mines under the city, though I'm not sure what yet. (For those not from the area, there is a rather large and extensive salt mine under Detroit and suburbs.) In a prior campaign, I did have a villain try fuel-air bombs in the mines to level the entire city. I need to think of something else.
  25. I was running a game with the Hellraisers. They're mostly villains stol... I mean adapted from Villains Unlimited. Aggressor, Onslaught, Besieger, Hellhound, Electrocutioner, and Cremator, all rather nasty individuals. They took one of the NYC bridges and herded half of the trapped commuters into a bus and the rest into the back of a semi trailer. They put the bus half-off the bridge, and ran a steel cable through the tires and axles of the semi to attach it to a gas tanker truck. When the heroes showed up, they worked with PRIMUS on a plan to save the hostages. Tempest (an air-controlling character with a strong TK) flew up under the bridge to catch the bus and lower it to a barge set to pass underneath at the right time. One hero snuck to the truck and unhooked the cables, while another got a PRIMUS agent into the cab to drive the semi to safety. The others set out to stop the fire characters (Hellhound and Cremator) and Electrocutioner from igniting the gas tanker. When the heroes made their move, Onslaught pushed the bus off the bridge (no surpirse there) but Tempest caught it and spent most of the combat lowering it to the barge and flying back up. The others managed to KO their three main targets as the PRIMUS agent hotwired the semi. Unfortunately, Hellhound came to and lit up fuel spilled around the tanker. Everybody (villains included) starts to scatter, and it looks like the semi won't clear the area in time. Up flies Tempest. Seeing the situation, she grabbed the gas tanker and starts pulling it toward the side of the bridge away from the slowly accelerating semi. Toward her. With her air powers fanning the flames. Since her actions were very heroic, when the tanker blew (less than a dozen meters in front of her), I gave her a chance to dive for cover under the bridge. And she rolled a critical failure. The next game session, I gave the player a death certificate for Tempest and had her draw up a new character. Of course, in true comic book fashion, she wasn't really killed, but did have amnesia and was found by one of the team's most hated enemies (Ravager), who turned her (temporarily) into a villainess. But that moment when she pulled the tanker toward her, knowing what would happen, was a pivotal moment.
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