Author Topic: Menace Manual  (Read 3928 times)

Gemm: Rock & Roll Star; Born to Rock

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2003, 08:14:15 AM »
ECL, I never really did get that. Is that some sort of "encouraged character level?"
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2003, 01:54:32 PM »
ECL=Effective Character Level
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2003, 03:02:05 PM »
one other issue: it is not traditional in most comics for superheroes to "advance" the way D&D characters do. Somehow, progression has to be altered so it reflects control, rather than power. True, you can throw in previously undiscovered powers, that happens from time to time. but it's not true to the genre for the character to keep getting stronger or faster or tougher. That either a) happens in vast jumps (like Punisher's new ability to "create" weapons), which is rare; or b) happens in reverse: the Flash's power has been stopped, if he tries to go faster than a certain rate, he merges with the speed force and loses his real form, never to return, for example. There are some rare exceptions. Superman once underwent a revision where he essentially didn't really fly, just "leaped tall buildings," but due to power creep has full flight again; but he also used to have a broader range of visual powers, but now it's just x-ray and heat, which are rarely used.

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2003, 04:15:05 PM »
I kind of think that's a mute point. Yes, in comic books Super-heroes don't really advance. However, one of the enjoyable things of playing an RPG is how the characters change and advance throughout game play. So adding the aspect of advancement makes it more of a game.

So I guess, I feel that the having super-heroes advance like D20 modern charcters is kinda cool. It allows the player to take their character in a different direction after a while. Also, it allows us to break free of some of the comic book stereotypes if we so choose. I'm thinking, what if a player decides that his or her cool mutant who's a uber-telekinetic can start advancing as a kick-a** PI dedicated hero.

Changing the advancement to reflect control of super-power kind of locks in the character to following just one path and neglects rounding out other aspects of the character that reflect the campaign and personal touches. Something that can be done in a RPG with more ease than a comic book or graphic novel, especially since this stuff could be freakin boring in a comic book.
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2003, 04:18:04 PM »
What I'm thinking is that the focus of actual game play would be character development, rather than abililty development -- to make it feel like a 4-color hero story, which, to me, would be the point of playing a supers RPG anyway.

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2003, 04:38:23 PM »
Oh oh! We could call the classes "Alter Egos." Eh eh? I really like that title. Instead of Advanced Classes or Prestige Classes. I bet you all didn't expect me to come up with that one. Heh, don't worry, it surprised me too.

Effective Charater Level. That one makes me chuckle even more than my answer did.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2003, 04:39:31 PM by Gemm »
“NOTHING IS TRUE. EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED.”
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2003, 05:03:50 PM »
Well, I agree that playing a four-color comic book type campaign is good. I would disagree that it is the point of playing a superhero campaign. To me, I would rather play one that resembles a superhero movie or TV show. I'm more familiar with film superheroes than true comic book superheroes. I find that there is a large difference in two forms of communication in how they portray these extraordinary beings.

I find that for a RPG to be successful, it needs to be flexible. This means that it is more important to focus on larger, essential aspects rather than bits of minute flavor. So for me, flexibility, selection, character advancement, super-powers and equipment become some of the more important apsects. Character development is more of a flavor thing, sometimes it's really cool and sometime I couldn't care less.

And what if you don't want you superhero to have an alter ego?
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2003, 05:08:11 PM »
If it needs to be flexible, doesn't that mean that it needs to take into account both? True flexibility would be more than just doing a lot of different things in the system, but using it for different playing styles as well.

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2003, 05:14:57 PM »
Well, then the question is, how much does ability advancement distract you from character developement?

My thought is that it doesn't at all. I see character development as something that is just decided by the player and doesn't really need any rules governing it. In fact, many people I've played with, ability advancement is the closest thing they will ever get to character development.
The Folly of youth is to think that intelligence is a subsitute for experience. The folly of age is to think that experience is a subsitute for intelligence.

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2003, 05:26:27 PM »
I guess what I'm getting at, is that gaining power control and alter egos are good optional rules, not necessarily good core rules.
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2003, 07:40:32 PM »
Wow, I kind of figured that Gemm and I were the only ones paying attention to this thread, and then I turn my back and BAM! Though I have to admit, if anyone else were interested I figured it would be you two.

42 mentioned my main dilemma earlier, and I think it's at the heart of your current discussion: d20, and d20 Modern especially, is based very heavily on early character development during levels 1-4. When doing a superhero game, do you want to let people start off really tough and then focus on character (Palladium style), or start off really weak and focus on a power/character mix (D&D style). I don't think that a focus on power development interferes with character development, but I don't think any of you do either.

The question is how to develop a system that allows you to do both styles of power progression. I was thinking of doing pure feats, with some prestige classes to represent stuff like government affiliation (a la Captain America) and whatnot, but that only works with the "start weak and build up" model. I really think that 42's idea of templates could support the other end, but I'm not sure exactly how.

What I really like about d20 Modern is that it's so open--once we make a few tweaks you'll be able to reproduce just about any comicbook hero, which for me is the acid test of a truly great superhero game (which Palladium fails, btw). Stuff like "mutant" shouldn't be a class because it implies that all mutants are identical except for their powers, and a quick comparison of Wolverine and Spider-Man will prove that wrong.

Wow, my thoughts are incredibly scattered. Anyway, here's a proposal that I invite you to shred:

1. All super abilities are feats, and some have higher levels with bigger prerequisites (flight, improved flight, etc.).
2. There should be a super power "heritage" feat, like the magic heritage feats in Urban Arcana, which do very little in themselves but allow you to eventually gain related powers. Unlike those feats, however, you should be able to pick up a super power heritage at any level (since you could be bitten by a radioactive spider at any time, not just at character creation).
3. Your in-game justification for a power can be anything you want it to be, just like in BESM and HERO: i.e., if you have a ranged power that stuns people you can decide that it's a ray of energy or a big shield that you throw like a frisbee. I'm not entirely certain I like this, but it's the best solution I see at the moment.
4. We will create certain prestige classes that allow access to extra super power feats. This way you can have a Smart Hero who picks up a few super powers (like Spider-Man), or a Mega Hero who focuses solely on super powers (like Superman), or a Fast/Smart/Techie combo with no powers who makes his own gadgets (like Batman).

And templates will...I don't know what to do with those.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2003, 07:42:08 PM by Fellfrosch »
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2003, 07:46:41 PM »
I think you're being unfair to palladium here.  Ya it's a "class" if you want to call it that, but you have the choice (or randomly rolled) on your background and skills/schooling.  HU is more like a collection of minni books that go over how to build a character based off that arch-type.
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2003, 08:26:22 PM »
My problem with Palladium's classes in HU is that they're too restrictive. It's true that their skill system is more malleable than I gave it credit for, but why can't I have a mutant/hardware mix, which would be the only way to accurately reflect Spider-Man? How about a Detective/Physical Training/Stage Magician blend to do Batman? Or a mutant/bionic mix to do Wolverine? (Well, okay, Wolverine is adequately covered under the new Super Soldier rules in the Rifter, but he's the only one.)

But my purpose here is not to knock HU. I think they've done superheroes just about as well as anybody has, and their range of super abilities is unmatched (not counting systems that let you build your own super ability). My purpose is to come up with a mod to the d20 Modern rules that allows you to create any type of superhero.
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2003, 09:07:48 PM »
The template is like creating a half-celestial or vampire character. Just for mutants or aliens. And like the half-celestial they can have progression as well. I think this makes alot of sense for anything that might be conisdered an inate ability, like a mutant or alien race. And mutants and aliens are just new races. So you just decide everything you want in the template and then compare it to other templates and creatures, then assign an apropriate ECL bonus.

Experiments could also be made into a template that can be added later. Not all templates necessarily have to be added at level one.

Things like bionics or special training make more sense as a advanced or prestige class. Just to be clear, does everyone realize that advanced classes and prestige classes aren't the same thing? Prestige classes to create more power super-heroes is a great idea.

Feats to help improve super abilities are great. I don't really like the idea of getting the super-power from a feat. Does someone go to the school for super heroes to get x-ray vision? Feats are things you learn, not powers you are granted. Also, making super abilities feats, places some serious limitations on what kind of super-hero you can create.

There would also be some knew skills that would need to be added. LIke Craft: Bionics to heal damage to bionic parts.

I also don't think that starting out with powerful characters is a problem. Just start the PC's at level 9 or so. If you have really powerful PCs at level one you screw up the balance. Just how will a mega-first level character compare to the normal 1st level thug? Also, I find that character development is done at all levels. It's not restricted to 1-4 level at all.
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2003, 09:38:25 PM »
I should also point out that templates and classes are very simular, just templates don't have to be as involved as a full class.
The Folly of youth is to think that intelligence is a subsitute for experience. The folly of age is to think that experience is a subsitute for intelligence.