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Champions Now Beta Playtest

Since the playtesting phase of Champions Now is wrapping up, I wanted to post a little bit about the game my group has started.   

We've played four sessions, plus a session zero to create characters.  In the session zero, I presented the first statement, and the second statement was crafted by consensus.  Character ideas were developed, and, at the request of the players, I created characters and talked them through the process, what everything meant, etc.  During the first session, the characters were introduced to each other and some of their hunteds.  The second session introduced one of the player characters (whose player couldn't attend the first session), and allowed the players to experiment a little more with powers.  The third session was devoted entirely to role-playing, as the characters responded to the previous sessions and built relationships with each other.  The fourth session was a large combat, and the first chance for the characters to cut loose (and learn the importance of endurance management!).

I've run the game (which has served as an interlude/interim game during pauses in an ongoing Pathfinder game).  I have extensive experience with RPGs, with my main go-to's being several editions of D&D and several editions of Champions/Hero System.  My players are mostly neophyte gamers, with some experience in D&D/Pathfinder, with one lapsed gamer who played older editions of D&D as well as FASA games.  None of the players had ever played Champions or the Hero System.

The players are having a really good time.  They have all commented on how much they are enjoying the game.  The two statements allowed everyone to personalize the game, and make the location, etc., more meaningful (e.g. "Everytime I go there in real life I think about when my character did X in that spot!").  Everyone is looking forward to the next session.

I have really enjoyed running the game.  I've always liked Champions, but the two statements (and other advice) have really helped tailor-make "our" comic book title.  Prep still is, and always has been, challenging, but I've been able to make it work.

I can't wait to see the final product!

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

Great! I would love to know the following.

  • What were the two statements? Where is the fictional activity located?
  • What are the characters' names and (basic) super powers/looks?
  • What antagonisms and adversity have challenged them?
  • What Disadvantages have jumped out in front?
  • What powers and in-play options have had significant impact on the events?

Additional Info

The two statements were: 1. Super-powered individuals are treated like celebrities, and 2. Larger-than-life action in Milwaukee.

The characters consist of:

  • The Gadgeteer, a super-scientist who has the ability to disintegrate/phase matter
  • Tlaloc, an incarnation of the aztec deity by that name who can hurl lightning and summon storm clouds
  • Scarecrow, a military vet and martial artist (vigilante/Batman type) who is developing and mastering telekinetic ability, and
  • The Monster, a victim of experimentation who can transform into a grotesque monstrosity of great strength and durability

In terms of antagonists (mainly hunteds), the group has had encounters with a rogue, ex-military group that seems to be collecting high-tech gear (Scarecrow), as well as several aztec-related characters and creatures of myth (Tlaloc).  They also faced off against a wizard (The Gadgeteer).  In addition to these encounters, the characters have had to figure out how to avoid the media, especially a tabloid/website that specializes in super-powered individuals.  The characters have also struggled with protecting their civilian identities while also using their resources in their identities to help with investigations in their costumed personas.

The biggest disadvantages that have come into play have been Hunteds.  I would say that the second-most impactful disadvantages have been Secret ID and Psychological Limitations (e.g. one character has a problem with alcohol, and another thinks he can win over one of his hunters).  Unluck has played a minor role in complicating events.

Attack powers have been impactful, but are not necessarily the go-to that I have seen in previous iterations of Champions with other players.  Even the "big fight" session had a lot more dynamic and creative choices.  Several of the characters have environment-affecting powers like Concealment that they like to employ.  Grabbing/throwing has come up some, especially with The Monster.  Usually, the characters/players try to manipulate the local environment to their advantage (e.g. "Can I knock over that truck?"or "Can I target the floor beneath them?").

Ron Edwards's picture

Music to my ears! Especially the details like the care given to locations and objects during combat, which I identify strongly with the game as it existed prior to 4th edition.

It seems as if the group arrived at a shared understanding of what "angles" of superhero-ness to bring forward, and at a developed version of the two statements that characterizes your collective superhero comic. That's very miuch what I'd like this system to facilitate.

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