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Champions Now Playtest Doc questions

1. What are the costs and effects of Life Support?

2. The Ranged advantage seems to be missing. +1/2?

Allen

 

Department: 
Actual Play

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Ron Edwards's picture

You’ve probably noticed that most of the rules in the summary are merely transcribed from the first-generation books. I’m staying very close to them at this point. I think those two got lost when I was going through that.

So, yes, Ranged is a ½ Advantage, no change.

Life Support is a little trickier. The “need not eat or excrete” just does not fit in that spectrum of things. I have two options in mind, and I think I planned to get back to it when I was making that summary, but forgot. Anyway, they are:

  • Take that component out of the powers entirely, and let it be a free special effect of being an android or whatever. It’d be a lot like Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne being as rich as they are, costing no points, making a difference in play whenever.
  • Leave it in there but make it a side-track to the others, rather than a graded step among them. In isolation, it’d be a lot cheaper too, probably 5 points. I'll do that for now. That’s kind of inelegant, and I will probably revisit it for later change, but it’s not too bad.

I’ll revise the document right now to include those. (I combined the gases options too, we'll see how that goes)

Sounds good to me

 

I re-downloaded the Kickstarter document and it was the same one from before. Will this be changed to include the changes you listed above? If not is there a link to get the new updated version? Thanks.

Ron Edwards's picture

You were speedy! Well, disclosure: on a heavy family weekend, one can get ambushed. I changed the file locally, posted here to say what I did, then went to upload it - and was called away for some fresh hell concerning kids or kitchens or something. Then I came back and uploaded it, so no, you were probably not too speedy. Anyway, it's there at the same link.

Your post may seem like it addresses a little thing, but it is very useful to the project and I don't mind a bit. Please feel free to mention any other vague or missing spots in there. Some of them I know about, but consider them to be minefields that I'd rather deal with during play, or would rather see people extrapolate solutions for out of the main rules - a good example is guns. Still deciding whether mundane weapons should even be modeled by the rules, or just be consequences of missing defensive rolls.

Just downloaded it again and once again it is the same document I had before. I certainly understand about busy-ness. I will try again later.

Ron Edwards's picture

Curses! Getting it to point to the right file was harder than it should be. Fixed now.

My feeling on guns: max of 3d6K for really big ones, and heroes don't get them as part of their regular powers unless they buy one. They could pick up and use one in play if it really was neccesary but should rely on their own powers.

Ron Edwards's picture

It's a soul-draining topic that ties into but is not synonymous with the Killing Attack issue, as the swamp of "heroes do/don't," point costs, what play is supposed to look like, and more is vast.

My current games play close to the original rules in which guns are dangerous to superheroes except for those who are really dedicated to invulnerability, and who impress even other superheroes. The rules are not too bad about that although they obviously helped lead to the Champions convention of the heroes all waddling about in powered armor.

But that is just putting off the question because at present I'm working on other things. When I get there, I'm going to strike a lot harder to the heart of the problem, without having to splash around in the swamp. Some opening thoughts for that ...

Role-playing games have always struggled with a concept which many of us carefully keep penned in denial: that in all action/violent fiction, "dangerous" is more aesthetic than actual - as long as the hero does something, it's successfully protective. The point of the guns is to keep the hero from doing what they want, because they have to keep doing the "something" instead, so now we get to see the hero do an end-run of some kind, or for someone else to swoop in, or whatever.

The various ridiculous details (using car doors as shields, or ducking in response to a hail of bullets, seizing an in-use, cocked gun away from someone, running what appears to be a quarter mile under heavy fire, et cetera) are all subroutines of this, but much as it pains me to admit it, the people who tolerate them in the story are right, and those of us who fold our arms and carp are wrong. The bullets simply are not there to hurt the hero ("hurt" in the sense of actually ending their participation for good), but to shape his or her options, and that is that.

So my first concern is when or whether guns are even hazards, and how, and if they typically aren't, when they are (for which Champions offers point-spending, as you point out). This gets back to the notion of whether "points build the world," in which the original rules at least wander around rather than commit to fully.

 

Disads: in your (mostly) 3rd edition game do you use the ever-decreasing benefits for taking more than two Disads of the same type from page 51 of the 3rd edition rules?

Ron Edwards's picture

I do, but didn't write about it in the playtest document. And now that I'm thinking about the various edge-cases in the rules, my take is that it makes tons more sense simply to limit all Disadvantages to two of the same type, and be done, no finicky halving to mess around with.

Ron, I think that this is a feature, not a bug.  It makes spreading out the categories a good idea, but also makes running games at a range of point values viable.  You can run a game at 225-275 points, for instance, and the characters at the higher side of that range are for sure going to be more disadvantaged (and Disadvantaged) than the ones at the lower.  But it also makes more work for the GM to referee all those disadvantages, true.

MattyHelms's picture

Hello-

What appeals to me most about the playtest document is the enthusiasm and support for emergent storytelling. However, I do have a few questions regarding the rules.

1 - Should the calculation for Intelligence and Perception rolls be 9 + Intelligence/5 rather than 9 + Intelligence over 5?

2 - A few of the Disadvantages listed for your sample character, Miasma, show "roll under" numbers - her Hunted and DNPC entries to be specific. Are these mechaics or costs covered in the text?

3 - You mention feeling that Disadvantages are misnamed, potentially tainting their amazing utility for play. Have you considered going ahead and renaming Disadvantages?

Thank you,
Matt

Ron Edwards's picture

Hi Matt! Numbered questions, excellent.

1. Should be the same as in the original: 9 + (characteristic/5). I'll go back and fix the notation if I screwed that up.[editing: my description looks correct to me - point me to the place you're thinking of if it looks wrong to you]

2. Yeah, Miasma is showing legacy problems because I built her before I removed the frequency rolls from the Disadvantages. I better fix that too.

3. Eventually, renaming Disadvantages is in the cards. However, that will be part of a somewhat more global change in sheet/concept structure. That change can go one of two ways:

  • I really like the Person/Super/Problems triangle concept, which is really shining in playtest. Each of these is composed of (Characteristics + Skills + Powers), Disadvantages, and "other," but is really a conceptual category of its own.
  • Or I may go with the existing fact that we have three kinds of points in the game: so-called Character Points, so-called Disadvantage Pointss, and "no points," and that I can maintain those and give them better names.
MattyHelms's picture

Thanks for the replies.

1 - The goofy formula is on the middle of page 14 of the PDF as part of the discussion surrounding exciting non-combat conflicts and situations.

3 - Much to think about... My initial response is that you can express both changes. Your first bullet point is how I conceptualize a great character I am motivated to play; your second bullet point is how Champions already supports that construct system wise.

Ron Edwards's picture

Got it, and fixed! Plus a very fine new thing in the playtest document as of this revision.

MattyHelms's picture

I meant to post this over in the main thread for Champions Now questions. Sorry for clogging up this discussion!

Ron Edwards's picture

No problem, I can move it. Verrrry carefully, however, so I'll test the infrastructure in an invisible thread first and you won't see the change for a little while.

johnpowell6's picture

One more for the day. A form Marine Corp helicopter pilot, and current Marine Reservist, Lt. Stephanie Powers aka Cascade.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/siev4zh9qfmanl9/Cascade-ChampionsNow.pdf?dl=0

johnpowell6's picture

I spent too long relearning Excel in order to save time calculating characteristics costs. Then I made a quick character. She's quirky and not well 'balanced' - primed in fact to fail and develop through experience. 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xzdzs1cncl2s97x/Freon-ChampionsNow.pdf?dl=0

Enjoy!

Ron Edwards's picture

Wow - that is gutsy as hell. My own practicality recoiled as soon as I saw those characteristics, but then I swallowed and said, "Hey self, that's exactly what you encouraged in that document, don't back out now."

If you don't mind a tiny bit of feedback ... I'm offering this not so much to you, but to represent to everyone how I respond to character designs when I'm GMing - and how a certain amount of back-and-forth does seem to be important for this game.

Anyway, my thinking is to look at my stringent legal mind-set when it comes to the Psychological Limitations, as presented in 3rd edition. This character seems to me to require a genuinely admirable, reliable morality, similar to Kitty Pryde's role in the X-Men (or at least for a little while), so I'd recommend putting the drive for justice at 15, thus common but not irrational.

It raises the key point that the point score of a Psychological Limitation is not the sincerity of the character's position, but rather the control or lack thereof of his or her responses. So even though Batman may feel more strongly than, for example, you or me concerning gun murder, that doesn't enter into the score at all, but instead, that he becomes icy cold and practical in regard to it - not "irrational," not a meltdown, so 15 points. (I grant you that some authors prefer giving him the irrational response, so then it'd be 20, but I'm talking about relatively few authors, not including Denny O'Neil or Frank Miller).

I'm getting away from the table-convention that the more points, the more you mean it, which I think went down a lot of unhappy roads at my and others' games.

If I'm reading Freon correctly, she'd probably clock in about 30 points total for those three re-calculated Psychological Limitations, and need at least one more Disadvantage to make it to 150. Nothing wrong with a DNPC, perhaps, especially given my emphasis on making them not annoying, and that it'd be great for her to have a good supporting-cast buddy.

johnpowell6's picture

I took your advice, reduced her two main Psych limitations, eliminated the third and gave her a big fat juicy DNPC - she's in love with her Hunted, at least the man he used to be... Of course he is torn between curing her so they can be together or absorbing her body to increase his own powers.

Updated character is at the same link above. 

johnpowell6's picture
Ron Edwards's picture

Almost about ready to elbow someone in the eye in order to play one of these characters.

I hope you get a game going! This is exactly what the development project needs.

johnpowell6's picture

Yeah - I'm making 5-6 characters as pre-gens for oneshots I plan on running at a local comics shop and at Go Play Northwest. The former usually draws folks that are either completely or almost completely new to tabletop rpgs while the latter is attended by a much more experienced crowd. It will be interesting to see the similarities and differences. 

I will also be leaving gaps in the Hunteds' motivations and Psych limitations and ask the players to tell me what their characters know about the folks hunting them. 

johnpowell6's picture

Here is Greenstick!  His background is a little lame; it's been a while since I've done this. 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1531q2H5mgqa2rrgWy0tmYx_tJnRu-YGdVRSIeR4lP2I/edit?usp=sharing

Ron Edwards's picture

I'd like to do this over with you, to show how those two opening statements are important. I like the powers construction but as you're perhaps seeing, that's maybe 20% of what makes a character playable. A lot of Champions characters-for-fun end up looking like this, and there is a solution.

Ron, yes please! This has been a common thing with me in designing characters for a long time.

Ron Edwards's picture

Perfect! Use the Contact form, it'll go straight to my email.

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