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Big Damn Hero #1 - A Champions Now Actual Play

I'm doing an actual play of Champions Now called Big Damn Hero. It's about powers being a blessing and a curse and takes place around the Witness Security program in Spokane, WA. The title hero is a super-villain turned state's evidence and put in the WitSec program. 
Anyway, we're three sessions in and we're about to debut a Colonel and a private military squad. CN talks about using hazards to handle agents, could you talk more about that Ron? Aside from Big Fancy Guns, these are regular Joes.  In our sessions, I try to get in a new rule/mechanic we haven't used yet. I have already used a bomb and building on fire!!

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

Fantastic! With three sessions in, it's defintely time for you to be using The Now, as described in Chapter 8. If you are, then I want to ask you for something: rather than overwrite each version, keep a copy of each version so that later, you can show them as a sequence. That's something I'm planning to mind carefully for the next time I play, so I can show people how it works.

Some great things include but are not limited to:

  • Using the "costumed super" identity as the Secret Identity, rather than the other way around.
  • A rare but absolutely functional context of one-GM one-player - this game is one of the few which scale easily and functionally all the way from one player to ... geez, as many as can be socially managed. ("This" meaning the original Champions & one of the features I tried hard to bring forward.
  • The whole context of learning the game by playing it with a good will and accepting that early play will feature rules-bumps as part of the learning curve.
MadJay's picture

That's too funny! I have three iterations of the Now as per Ch. 8. I was intrigued by the process and looking them over for session 4 --I like what I see.

Ron Edwards's picture

Well, let's see - there's the basic concept of Hazards and then the refined or extended version in the Fighting Words chapter. The basic one includes these points:

  • Defined as an area, which is usually the same thing as "it." It may or may not be able to move depending on what it is.
  • Within that area, you will be hit by whatever damaging effect or attack it has. There is no roll for it to hit you. This effect/attack is built with Powers.
  • It includes some Power or special effect that you may have which makes you safe in there; it may or may not require a roll.
  • It also includes some activity or result which defeats it in some way.

That's basically it - you can do all sorts of little subroutines and interesting applications, but that's your standard environmental or technological or metaphysical Hazard.

Now for what you're asking about, as I call them, "Hazards you can hit." They're the same, except for a few details:

  • It's defined as an area just the same as a number of hexes, but if it's s squad or bunch of goons or whatever, then the hexes can detach and move independently of one another.
  • A hex of "it" is not necessarily the same as the hex that comes under its effect, i.e., it can "throw" or "project" its effect, as an area or cone (if separated, from each). Don't forget that, again, it does not miss.
  • In addition to all those other things about surviving or defeating it, you can also hit a hex of it to eliminate it. There are some rules for this which are easier than ordinary combat, I won't go into them in detail here. But the point is that it doesn't have Knockout or other "personal" values like fully-built characters do, just Defense and Body like an object.
  • If its hexes are reduced, its effect is not. It's just as wicked down to the last hex.

Let me know if that helps!

 

MadJay's picture

Big Damn Hero #2: Solids

Detective Armstead brings Kurt on a witness relocation job, only someone has plans to move that witness to the grave. Join Charles Picard and I as we continue our Champions Now series. We talk about presence attacks, hazards, and Armstead, Kurt's Hunted Situation.

 

10 Hunted: Detective Armstead, Spokane PD (one person, manipulative), Marine veteran.

Ron Edwards's picture

Hooray! I am a fan.

What I'm about to list isn't fair because I know you've played sessions 3 and 4 by now. But speaking strictly as an audience member talking to other audience members, and we're all only up to #2, here are some things for fellow audience members to observe and consider.

"Just guys" work better as Hazards. The gun-toters in session 1, and a couple others in session 2, eat up a lot of game system attention they didn't rate. Also, if they were played as a Hazard, Bone and (uh) Cat would have had to worry about actual damage from their weapons instead of feeling secure that they probably wouldn't get hit. That feeds into more directed action, too, because Cat would have been stupid to have held her first action and would have needed to go straight for the one guy's weapon or, considering her personality, his throat.

Environmental Hazards are dangerous mainly because they keep on going. I like that Bone was Flashed and therefore disoriented in the apartment fire, but he should been getting Flashed again as well as taking damage all the way through that sequence. At first contact, he was hit for 10 Knockout ... and you get hit like that every Segment you're in a hex affected by the Hazard. Although he's a tough guy, that's only a couple more units of contact that he could handle before hitting the floor, and then it would be an interesting match of taking Recoveries to see whether their additions outweighed however much damage he took the next time.

Similarly, that poor guy tied to the chair didn't have any Defense (normal people have Defense 0), so he'd have been hit for some Body damage all the way through, unless maybe Bone wrapped him in something.

On the topic of damage to regular people, Charles had the option to decide whether the guy he kicked the dumpster into was dead or just horribly injured - he took 10 Body which is all that a normal person has.

Finally, there's Presence. Bone has Weaken Presence and a pretty good Presence value, so it's perfectly understandable that he'd be a super-dominating person, but there are a couple of rules that keep it from being the beat-anyone-any-time device that it seems like in the first two sessions. The big one is that you can't Presence people into doing stuff they don't want to do, as if it were Mind Control, or rather, to do that, you'll need to get past the big penalty for it. That looks like it applies for both of the recipients of this trick, and the situation with 3Pain was combat, which also imposes a penalty. So if Bone tries to just tell people to run off out of the fight, then he's cooking with at least -4 Presence out of the gate.

The power Weaken Presence relies on touching the opponent, which requires a Grab maneuver (not a Punch or similar), and I could be missing it, but I'm not sure that got done, at least against 3Pain. Furthermore, Bone was currently Entangled and would have had to break out of that before being permitted a Grab attack.

Its effect takes off Presence dice equal to the Core value rolled, and I think in the 3Pain situation, they got a little mixed up about Points and scores and stuff, based on the older rules. The rule to remember for that is that you only ever count up all the little bitsy dice values for Knockout - nothing else.

Well, it seems to me that I'm being that most obnoxious game author who's telling people "you're doing it wrong," so I'll stop. Remember, everyone, love the learning curve! You'll find that this game's specific sort pays off way, way more than any other that I know.

MadJay's picture

This helps us all get over the learning curve. I am a fan of "just guys" as Hazards, I got there the hard way though. We take another shot at Hazards in session 4, and by request, we'll do a session breaking down combat. we also do an episode where we call out where we went wrong in the first two episodes. 
I also have the advantage "Has gamed with Ron" and have seen your enthusiasm -no worries man.

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