Author Topic: Menace Manual  (Read 3925 times)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #30 on: October 24, 2003, 10:22:46 PM »
My first thought is that about balance. You dont' compare the systems across. The "Superhero" expansion would be something different than the the strong hero or whatever, and yes, a 1st level superhero should be able to beat the snot out of a 1st level fast or tough hero without  too much a problem. Just like a D&D character can usually take out his closest equivelent in d20 Modern. OR a d20 modern could take on a CoC character

I'm still working out my feelings between templates and feats. ("I love you both!"). It just seems not right to try and build a lot of superheroes using either method. To me, the D&D system is too much the process. It's hard to get people to make the jump from a feat representing something you do and becoming something you have.  Prestige classes do the same thing for me.

for character building, I still keep thinking that point systems will work MUCH better for superheroes than d20 can hope to. Though I like the random attributes. So maybe come up with a new mechanic that works much like feats, but is named and has some important differences. Call it "powers" until I have a better name.

You start out with a defined set of broad powers (which form a tree, sorta like Diablo2), and only in game events allow you to add one (like another energy blast, or a new mutation, radiation, or whatever - each super power causing event adds a certain number of Powers, and no more. Now, not all of those powers have to have any amount of development right away, and as you gain levels you can choose which to develop.

Example, Superman. He has a base of 5 powers: strength, speed, flight, x-ray vision, and heat vision. Some, like speed and strength, are developed more than others. Then, he saves the world (yet again) and the geomancy in play (or whatever, they never explained that satisfactorily) and he gained a whole new set of powers dealing with energy manipulation and magnetism.
Course, then he lost 'em all. Which also plays in. Supes originally has two weaknesses: Kryptonite and Magic. When he gains a new set, he also gained a new weakness: instability. Fixing the instability removed his power base.

So maybe that's more work than most of you want to do, but I think it's the best solution for the feel. It helps with artifact enhancements (Green Lantern: really cool powers, loses 'em all when he loses his artifact, removing his power tree).

Am I being clear enough?

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2003, 10:27:18 PM »
Maybe if you rework the XP system you can put the powers into the PrC's classes/Advanced Classes as they level up. Then the whole template thing or whatever can just be for races and the such.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2003, 10:29:06 PM by Gemm »
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2003, 11:55:43 PM »
Actually, I compare D20 systems all the time. In the campaign I run I pull stuff from other D20 products all the time and I find that they are fairly balanced over all. CoC characters aren't really weaker than Modern Characters or Modern Characters weaker than D&D characters. And there is a reason why it has been done this way. If you unbalance 1st level character attributes, you also unbalance CRs, ERs and a host of other mechanics. It's not just how the hero's balance with each other, but how they balance balance with the entire world and game mechanics.

I would like to ask, how would you deal with wussy superheroes? Say someone wants to play a Jubilee or Aquaman type character, but doesn't want to always play second fiddle to the Supermans and Magnetos. If I was that character I would create a host of non-super-abilities that I was good at that reflect the power of the mega-super heroes. To solve this, it makes sense to me that you don't power up the characters beyond normal D20 modern rules. That way a ninth level crimelord with experience and no super powers, is still a threat to a starting 9th level super hero.

I guess I'm seeing people making good character creation ideas, but not fitting their character ideas into a realisticly workable modern world. One of the problems I have with Palladium Heroes Unlimited and many comic books in general is that very few super heroes can actually be threatened by normal humans.
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2003, 08:19:51 AM »
Superheroes don't deal with the same things that other characters do. They typically deal with super villains, which would use the same scale. And that's the thing: The non-super supervillain CAN be kicked around by the superhero. There is absolutely NOTHING stopping superman from tearing apart everything that Lex has ever done and then beating the snot out of Lex. Nothing at all. The reason Lex is a threat is because a) Superman respects the legal approach (which adds a whole host of depth and irony to how Lex uses what Supes respects to protect himself) and b) the plotting. Lex just makes clever plans. He D&D terms, I'd say he has high ranks in diplomacy, profession (businessman) and then GOBS of money to support the plans he makes with his really high intelligence.

<shrug> so I don't feel the need to balance. ANd I still disagree. A level 1 wizard and his level 1 fighter and rogue companions pack more punch than smart, fast, and strong hero combined. who in turn have more abilities than a set of three CoC heroes. The difference only becomes more pronounced the more advanced they get.

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2003, 04:15:50 PM »
I still see balancing as being crucial for many reasons. I've been thinking about this, and I come to the conclusion that Superman or super-heroes like him are not good starting PCs. They are mega-superheroes, not average super-heroes that could progress. Superman is a very fixed character, not showing much development except in shows like Smallville where he lacks a lot of his powers.

Improved Stregth or Breathing Undrewater are good 1st level superheroes. I see a hero like Jubilee being a good 1st level super-hero. She would be able to shoot sparkling lights and cause a little damage which is about equivilent to losing a feat and some skill points for being a mutant. She would probably have a level of fast hero (which may be giving her character more power than in anything I've seen her in). Still, she would make a simple super-hero that is balanced with a wizard or other PCs. She wouldn't over-power other normal characters, and the GM doesn't have to rewrite all the rules to fit her into a campaign. Her powers could progress some as she gets higher in level. The Jubilee in the TV shows and comic books is someone I could beat up easily.

The point is, not all super heroes are really all that powerful or even that super. If the game is designed so you have to play suped up character you take away the flexibility of the game so that someone wanting to play a more realistic person or a more normal person is penalized. Rules already exist for PCs that have extraordary abilites like spies, hardwares, and mystics. Why does everyone have to create a spiderman or wolverine type character? Can't someone choose to be James Bond, Dick Tracy, Batman, or Robin? Normal mid-high level D20 modern characters aren't dealing with normal villians, they are dealing with super-villians and such. Hence I see the need for ECL adjustments over simply just making an unbalanced new base-line that doesn't equivicate with the existing system.
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2003, 05:15:28 PM »
I still disagree. Most superheroes are more powerful.

Other specifics:
There's no character reason to take away Jubilee's bonus skill points and feats just for being a mutant. Technically in the D&D vision you could argue she's not human, but they don't in the stories. She almost has enough to take on Robin, who is definitely the skill/feat oriented little kid -- Robin has more training with a more specified and demanding instructor, which you could translate as a higher level, which is the only reason he beat Jubilee when they went head to head.

Speaking of Robin, Batman is an especially bad example for your closing remark: it is probable that Batman would win any massive battle of all superheroes ever. He holds his own with GL, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Superman for a reason.

The problem here though is disagreement: you want to play D&D just with a different class system. I want to play a superhero game. NOTE: this is not a put down, just an observation. You want to play something that works just like D&D does, only with special effects instead of spells and dungeon delving. I want to play something that feels more like a superhero comic book. I don't want another D&D clone.

Maybe I'll just fall back on my old belief: this is one more thing that d20 just doesn't work for. They try to apply it to everything, but it just feels wrong for superheroes and science fiction.

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2003, 05:59:04 PM »
I dont know Modern seems to work well for a type of science fiction, but I think you guys should just agree to disagree.

Especially since the power level of a supers  game is pretty subjective.
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2003, 06:14:27 PM »
I agree that I think that D20 Modern is meant to have a scifi twist as much as a fantasy twist. And at least a third of all superheroes are more fantasy than science fiction.

And I will agree to disagree. I also won't change my current superhero campaigns to fit SE's perceptions.
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2003, 08:29:25 PM »
No! You must change your campaign!

wait, that's "submit to my will"

I didn't know this was about changing your superhero campaign. I thought this was about writing a d20 expansion.

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2003, 08:32:11 PM »
Yep, don't worry. I'm still wondering when we can get around to that.
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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2003, 01:33:48 PM »
For me, the whole point of d20 is the character progression system; if we do a superhero mod of a d20 game, it will by necessity include typical d20 progress. SE's ideas are all very good (probably because his two favorite things are RPGs and comicbooks, hmmm...), but they don't seem applicable to the d20 system.

On a similar but unrelated note, a quick look at X-Men Evolution will show the importance of game balance. That kid with the earthquake powers is ridiculously, obscenely overpowered--he can destroy pretty anything indiscriminately. The only reason he ever loses a fight is because of teh show's poor writing.
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The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #41 on: October 28, 2003, 05:30:31 PM »
that show sucks. I can't even watch it if I'm dead tired and I just finished Samurai Jack.

but yeah, as far as d20 goes, I think I concluded the same thing. I just don't think d20 works for Superheroes, so there's little point in making the mod for me. Making a whole new GAME, on the other hand...

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #42 on: October 28, 2003, 05:48:32 PM »
Down saint! Resist the temptation!

You have, according to yourself on IM earlier, lots of TWG work to do. So get on it! :P
If you're ever in an argument and Entropy winds up looking staid and temperate in comparison, it might be time to cut your losses and start a new thread about something else :)

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Re: Menace Manual
« Reply #43 on: October 28, 2003, 05:50:34 PM »
what?! WHAT?!

Acutally, I already have a started system. I'm trying to decide if it would work for supers, but I dont' think it would. ANd since I don't have any other ideas, I'll get back to that.