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Champions Now! Questions outpost

Hello to backers and to interested parties! Here's a place for asking questions and sharing notions about Champions Now, in Kickstarter crazy stage at the time of this posting.

I'm currently playing a couple of games of it myself, one to continue the game set in St. Louis, which is mostly 3rd-edition as written, and another set in San Antonio, which is very much the playtest document. I'm editing the prep and first session for the latter game right now and will be posting them as their own series. Any questions or comments are welcome on those posts too.

It may sound scary, but I also invite you to click on the green hand at the top right and start your own post. All it needs is any mention of your experience playing and reading Champions, with even the briefest description, and you can ask or comment about Champions Now in it too.

Thanks again for being here and I am looking forward to our collective madness!

Actual Play


How hard a stance to you envision taking on the Ratio?  Every hero in the PC group being low the chose value, or the average for the PC group being below it?  

I ask becuse it seems like characters built around very high STR (the classic Bricks) will have a perculiar impact on the Ration concept.  Every five points of Real Cost spent on STR gives you five Active points of STR, one Active Point of PD, one Active Point of REC, and two and half Active Points of STUN.  

Since it's not uncommon for a Brick-type character to have very few powers other than high STR, and those powers often have no Limitations at all, I could easily see such a character with a Ratio well below 100 - basically busting the grade curve for everyone else.


Ron Edwards's picture

Hi John, and welcome! Loving the Ratio talk.

Let’s review one thing before getting into the question: it’s impossible to have a ratio below 100. The number on top is the total character cost without Limitations; so a character with no Limitations is going to have the same number on top and on bottom, for a result of 100. If you want, link to a character sheet you’ve made up and we’ll go through how to calculate it (people tend to make it harder than it is).

OK! Your question is a good one, whether the ratios I mention are rules, as in, “the rules say do it this way.” As I see it, the recommended range can’t really be that hard and fast – any group can settle on whatever ratios they like, and it’s not like I can stop them, or should. And part of the fun of Champions is working with the Modifiers, although you can probably see that I think that should be aimed toward the fun of use-in-play, not as an isolated puzzle. People are going to mess with them, no way to stop that or to want to.

The only thing I can say in the rules as a rule, is that the group should at least understand that their fun can be at risk if someone at the table is using ratios in a different way from the others. It’s not equality that matters (“everyone needs to be at 110”), but rather skew – if someone is at 129 when everyone else is at a much lower value.

And hypothetically, even that might be fine if other variables are taken into account, e.g. the outlier character is simply so interesting because of the Limitations. I say hypothetically because I saw a lot of games with an outlier like this and that wasn’t the case, it was a fun-killer instead.

The range I suggest in the playtest document for player-characters is 100-115. In my experience, that whole range works fine together; you can have characters at either end or whatever.  I definitely do not recommend specifying a single value that every player-character is supposed to hit or be very near, or for which they average.

That’s also why I wouldn’t be too concerned about your specific question, which I’ll re-phrase a little bit … we’re talking about a very strong character, so most of his or her figured characteristics are high based on Strength. But that variable isn’t important for our purpose of discussion; all that matters for the ratio is whether Limitations are involved. I’m pretty sure the character you have in mind has few or no Limitations, perhaps even all the way at minimum ratio, 100. That’s fine. My initial version of Miasma is like that, in the playtest document.

Since there’s no need to consider the average ratio across the group, merely the permitted range (in my case, 100-115), it’s kind of non-issue. That character and the others will do fine.

Let me know if that helps or at least makes sense.

Started a new topic. I think I was just supposed to ask here? Feel free to move it if needed.

Ron Edwards's picture

Hi Allen, that’s no problem!

Having a group/whatever post helps people who are a little shy, so they can add in, but having individual posts like yours will keep this one from getting clogged. So I’ll hop over there for your questions.

johnpowell6's picture

If Disadvanatges are your character then I think they should be at the beginning of character generation rules and at the top of the character sheet, rather than the bottom. Thoughts?

Ron Edwards's picture

There's a lot to consider. At this point, it's best to let playtesting show me what kind of documents get made - rather than set the product, I want to see what the processes demand, and then those become the product.

I've been thinking a lot about the difference between a character worksheet for making them up, vs. a usable in-play sheet, vs, a "living document" that reflects how the character changes.

For character creation, I definitely agree that Disadvantages should not be a final step or, as may be communicated by making them the final step, the "now you have to pay for it" role in the process. My plan is to stay with the current three-cornered approach, where you work on ...

  • the powers & related "can do" material
  • the person
  • the problems

... simultaneously, moving from one to the other when you hit a brief stopping point.

These don't map perfectly to [characteristics, skills, and powers bought with points], [all the stuff not bought with points], and [Disadvantages, "the other kind of points"], but it's close enough. I'm thinking about a literally triangular workshsheet that drives you toward the center.

For the in-play sheet, I don't know if "at the top" really matters for a thing's importance, but I think that you're right, the Disadvantages need to be really obvious and equally privileged, visually, as the powers.

For the "living document" that keeps changing ... I think we all know about this, considering the layers of eraser marks and margin notes that characterize a Champions character sheet over time. The players' sheets in my binders from my old games are more like albums. But what would a deliberate design for such a thing look like? It would certainly lay out the current math in easy to read form, and it might even have a scratch-pad, wish-list type section. I like the idea of using this sheet until it gets too messy, and then you just put another one on top of that with "where he is now" as the new starting point.

alanb's picture

My ideal character sheet would look like a splash page, with a picture in the top left, a bit of origin/descriptive text on the right, and the mechanical bits of the sheet at the bottom.

Unfortunately splash pages of this type seem to have mainly been a Golden Age phenomenon.

Ron Edwards's picture

I think I see where you're coming from. Visually or artistically, I'd really like something like this to show what the character does, as in right now, not in terms of origin or explanation. I've been finding a lot of people to struggle with that question, during character creation, which is weird ... thinking about character promotion in comics, no amount of promises or description will work - only a knockout "this is what he or she is doing, and this is what's happening" opening story will do the job.

I'm beginning to think origins and explanations are a huge distraction, and that their presence in the really good comics has always been supportive rather than central. "Gee, how did I get these powers," "Gee, who gave me these powers and why," "Gee, how do these powers work actually," and "Gee, whatever shall I do with these powers," may be fanbait, and they may comprise 75-95% of TV/movie media for superheroes, but they are no kind of way to say, "let's start playing."

alanb's picture

Yes. My idea is to encourage dynamism, simplicity and "now let's play".

It also has the potential to set the aesthetic/visual context - Broody Detective, Shiny Inspiring Dude, Nazi Puncher, etc. Of course it's challenging for those of us who can't draw to save our lives - but there is always the option of swiping a suitable image. You probably couldn't say that in the text of course, but it could be hinted at.

To put it another way, the idea would be to say: "would you like to read about this character? Yes? Great! Let's play!"

While I am posting, I've done a fair bit of bench testing and experimental character building - no real finished characters, but lots of "proof of concept" fragments. "Running the numbers" if you like. My conclusion is that tactical considerations and resource management (especially with respect to END) will outweigh raw build efficiency in actual play. That's a good thing. It also means that player skill is a factor, which is a good thing for players who like to "win".

I'm pretty convinced that both "Batman-like" and "Superman-like" characters are buildable and playable. That's good - it scratches both itches I tend to get. Characters in the middle work too - I've built a Spider-Man/Ant-Man hybrid that looks like it would work nicely.

So in general I'm pretty happen with the draft, and almost ready to start actual play - but will it fund?

Ron Edwards's picture

I hope it does fund, but even if it doesn't, this degree of support and interest shouldn't be abandoned. Some ways forward do exist.

alanb's picture

Oh good. There's too much potential here for it to be abandoned.

Hi Ron,

I just skimmed through Chamions 3e and the original Strike Force and find no explicit mention of the idea of letting the player's actions determine story outcomes. In fact, 3e says When playing a roleplaying game, one player will take the parts of the director and author. This person, called a Game Master (GM for short), will decide the basic plot of this particular adventure” (Champions, 3ed., p. 5).

The saddle stitched paperback (first?) edition was when I started playing and I always felt there was something more I could get out of the game -- now I suspect it was story now. How and where did you find it in the texts?

My real name is Alan, BTW.

I found 1st edition and it has this text, which doesn't appear in 3rd: "The storyline or plot of the game should be very flexible and responsive to the decisions of the players. No two adventures will be the same, because of the different directions that the characters can take. The Game Master should be willing to integrate the player's ideas and responses into the game. Ideally, a role playing game involves continuous feedback between the players and the Game Master."

Ron Edwards's picture

Hi Alan! That is some gold you found, and I suggest that there’s a lot more. The main ones are Mike Stackpole’s essay “The Evil that Lurks in the Hearts” in Champions III, Aaron Allston’s discussion of the Character Story in the first few pages of Strike Force, which I think is reinforced throughout the book, and although less directive, but present-in-principle, Steve Peterson’s pieces in Champions II (money, villains, experience, DNPCs) and Aaron Allston’s piece in Champions III about mystery powers and disadvantages.

3rd edition core is a weird publication in the game’s development history. On the one hand, it’s a great mechanics compilation and clarification from the garage-rock previous versions, and is clearly based on rules/play consideration rather than napkin notes. On the other hand, the “Hero System” is evident as a gleam in their eyes, and I suspect they eliminated that paragraph to dial down the flexibility that was actually present at their tables, with a more generic perceived audience in mind. But since that System didn’t exist yet, the mechanics went better with those essays listed above; they were still Champions rather than Hero System subset Champions. Your quote from looks, to it me, like a kind of dark cloud on the horizon.

Then again, a lot of this material is bipolar, based on contributing author. I fancy you can see an explicit tug-of-war in Champions II and III between the Story Now versus Model Physics (George MacDonald), perhaps best shown by including some of the Danger International skills but also making them optional, acknowledging that there are reasons not to use them. From a reader point of view, it’s almost like Rorschach test – in Champions III, for example, looking at Stackpole’s essay vs. MacDonald & Friends’ section on Danger Rooms and betting Experience Points, consider which is fluff and which is rules. I know which way I’d jump, but more important is to realize that it’s a forced  choice – you cannot play “both ways.”

I’ve been debating these texts with people for many years … a couple blog posts that might interest you are On and on and on, and the comments in Being, having, and nothingness.

alanb's picture

A fun thing to do with 1st Edition: take a close look at the sample characters, and draw a diagram showing the connections between all the characters and organizations mentioned in the writeups.

Fill in the details left out of the sketchy descriptions. EG: why is UNTIL wandering around the Reagan era USA? Who is Major Martinez? (It describes him as a freedom fighter. What does that mean in the context? Who did he fight against?) Etc.

The result is a nice little implicit world, which just happens to be a good example of how a Champions Now world might be built.

Ron Edwards's picture

Hi (other) Alan, that term "build" takes on some important meaning in a case like this. It's definitely an emergent process rather than a pre-conceived setting.

I wrote about it regarding an RPG which was clearly inspired by Champiions, called Heroic Do-Gooders & Dastardly Deed-Doers, which you might remember from the blog post, The game you never heard of. I'll even provide the direct link again to the excerpt that I scanned because it's so good. The authors call the concept "Earth Now."

alanb's picture

The thing which I think was implied in the original text, is that the starting point for the "campaign world" is the PCs and their connections. In that sense, starting with the example characters (mainly NPC villains) is backwards - but the techniques are the same.

So if a PC is hunted by an organization (say, VIPER), it means that that organization exists and will need to be fleshed out. The question is: who is responsible for fleshing it out? The original text tends to make that the GM's responsibility rather than a joint effort by the player and the GM - but even there the GM will add stuff that the player doesn't know about, for dramatic reasons.

If the word "build" is a problem, then maybe "accrue" might be more suitable, lacking the overtones of intentional (GM) planning and design.

Back to the example characters for a moment: another fun exercise is to work out things that could be done with them. Dragonfly is a good example. What if the PCs encounter him before the transformation? They might then be motivated to try and cure him, rather than just fight him. And if they succeed, will it be permanent? What if someone else had the accident, or a similar one? What if they were female? What if they became pregnant? One bug monster is bad - a whole species is terrifying! And obviously, the whole business can become a "homage" to Curt Conners/the Lizard.

Shrinker is another. The PCs could encounter her while she was still a heroine. That makes her far more interesting, In fact, they could be the group she was a member of.

Even if these specific characters aren't used, they are examples of what can be done, and the kinds of relationships the PCs can have with their opponents.

An unrelated thought inspired by your Tabletop Radio Hour interview: a campaign with rotating GMs could be like having a bunch of different editors working on a line of comics, rather than one single Guardian of Continuity.

Ron Edwards's picture

A thousand times yes.

alanb's picture

Whimsy: since I was the first of the two Alans to be here, does that make me the Alan of Earth-One?

But what about Allen Shock? Does he count?

Is a Crisis looming?

I'm pleased to see I can change my handle. I've include my middle initial, as I would also have been alanb otherwise.

Ron, if I understand the playtest document (plus everything you've said in your videos), the campaign is built around two premise statements:

  • A defining trait of superheroes, supervillains, or powers in the campaign
  • Campaign themes in a campaign location

To wrap my head around this, I thought of some actual comics and pin down those two statements.  For example, Batman:

  • Criminals are a cowardly superstitious lot
  • Crime and corruption in a gritty metropolis

Since you suggested not defining power sources, the X-men might be:

  • Heroes and villains battle to determine the fate of mankind (or mutantkind).
  • Coming of age in Westchester

However, in your San Antonio session zero, you gave the example of the Fantastic Four as "Technocosmic."  Doesn't that define types of powers and sources?   If so, would the defining power statement for the X-Men be "Mutants"?  Since these premise statements really seem to set the scope and feel of the campaign, some more advice for crafting good ones would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Ron Edwards's picture

Hi Joel! I have yet to arrive at the perfect teaching-phrasing for this, but for the first statement, the idea is to describe any or all of "super-powers, heroes, villains," "powers as social phenomenon," or "look-and-feel." Just one will do though.

That's why "techno-cosmic" is good but "mutant" isn't. We all know what the first means, but the second will only take on meaning within this exact fiction, so it's not a reference point for getting into our fiction.

Also, it's super, super tempting, but don't use a comics title.

In your case, you were going the other way, saying, "for a comics title, what would they be," and that's OK strictly as an exercise for discussion. It's not intended to be a useful technique, believe me, I know the hard way. To do this, we need to go by year and specific creative team. In that case, "techno-cosmic" is referring very definitely to the Fantastic Four in 1966-67, when the Inhumans and Galactus and whatnot boomed, and when things got very Ragnarok-y over in Thor.

For the second statement, and if we're doing this reverse-engineering from the comics strictly as an exercise, then it's worth considering just what really happened in the comics. The New X-Men (1977) weren't coming-of-age, they were all in their twenties at least and the whole "school" thing was pretty much an anachronism at that point; also, they may have been based in Westchester, but the series itself was aggressively international, and focused strongly on a minority's place in the world, especially more and more as things went on.

I'm kind of rushed right now so this may not be the best-phrased or most pedagogical answer - let me know what helps or makes sense.

Thanks for your thoughts. I knew the statements I suggested were highly debatable, but you are correct that I was doing it more as modeling exercise. Your point regarding specific titles and eras makes complete sense.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around these statements, but it sounds like they need to have a concrete (single) meaning that can be approached from multiple viewpoints as to allow a broad range of options for player applications.

alanb's picture

I'm struggling a bit with these statements too. I've come up with some that work, but the ones that aren't quite so serious/Grimdark aren't quite coming together.

For example, the following doesn't quite work for me. I might be overthinking it, but it says nothing about who the villains are:

  • Australia's Greatest Heroes are based in... Toowoomba?
  • Classic superhero action/adventure in 'Straya, mate'. Based in (but not limited to) Toowoomba, Queensland.

This might not work for more serious minded players!

My assumption is that the players will pick up any premise and run sideways with it. I certainly hope they would. So in this case, they would decide how much is "Hometown Heroes" and how much is globetrotting internationalism.

And yes, "Hometown Heroes" is a possible premise too, especially for those of us who don't live in Big Cities.

At some point I might rant on about that: Smallviile, Happy Harbor, Westchester...

Alan, I think you're right on players affecting the scope of the campaign (hometown vs. international). As for the villains, I think they will be born from the development of the player characters, and will fall under the premises specified. This is why I am giving a lot thought to these two statements. These statements are the cornerstone for the entire campaign, setting the tone and direction for player choices, and I could see the choice of statements making the difference between fizzling out after a few sessions and Strike Force.

alanb's picture

My hesitation about the villains is that the players have to come up with them without any guidance.

Mechanically, it's about Hunteds, of course, but that's not the real problem.

"Running sideways", as I described it, is good, but "brain freeze" isn't. New players, especially, won't be able to come up with suitable villains without prompting. In theory, of course, the villains they come up with will be things the GM would never thought of. But they still will tend to sit there and look at you unless you prompt them.

I'm tempted to mention that Ron taught at a US college/university. He knows what students do. (I've never taught, but I was one.)

Santiago Verón's picture

Oooo, I want to try my hand at this!

* There have been superpowered people in all cultures for the past two centuries, but superheroics is a mostly American phenomenon, like baseball, wrestling, stand up comedy and - sorry- public mass shootings.
* Superheroes and supervillains in Argentina, dating at most ten years old, some fashioned strictly in the American style and some acknowledging local, forgotten superpowered traditions.

Ron Edwards's picture

Joel, Santiago, Alan, this is running ahead of my ability to answer, especially during a weekend. It's also way too important to leave buried deep in the comments of a generic post like this.

Joel, can you start a post for this topic? Use the green button at the top right of the Actual Play page. Feel free to cut and paste any of the replies here into it, attributed to the right author. I can work up a video response as a reply for that.

Done.  (I apologize for the lackluster formatting.)

I've long considered running series of games progressing through the Champions editions, so this playtest is an interesting project.  So far, the playtest document brings up a specific and a general comment/question.

The specific question is idle curiosity about the source of the Ego combat maneuvers.  A couple come from Champions II, but  the others don't seem to be from Ultimate Martial Artist (either one) as I first guessed.  Are they from a source I didn't check, or are they your original invention?

The general comment is that the playtest document seems to have several intertwined purposes: to summarize the 3e rules, to convey a few explicit rules changes tweaks, to convey a particular interpretation of the 3e rules, and finally to present the use of the rules to promote a particular play style.  I find it quite clumsy to try to tease out which purpose motivated any given part of the document, and  would find it much clearer if those parts were separated.  This would be particularly useful when using the 3e rulebook as a reference, since most but not absolutely all of it applies.  There is already a certain complexity simply from the fact that I know 4/5e best and am already trying to filter out which parts of 4/5e don't apply, so the simplification would, at least, reduce the number of filters I'm trying to juggle in my head simultaneously.


Ron Edwards's picture

Hi Dustin,

The Ego maneuvers are just me spitballing from those in Champions II. I also recently decided the extra dice in Id Rush are a bad thing so took them out (not changed in posted version yet). As with quite a bit of the specific rules, I'm interested to see how they go in play and am not particularly wedded to them before that point.

There is, unfortunately, no actual good way to compose or organize a document of this kind. It's not a draft for any kind of book; it's definitely not a "manuscript." It's just my notes, and will continue to be those notes as they accompany play. Since we are engaged in game design rather than product design, there's no point in working on a manuscript yet.

On the positive side, I just passed a point where I am no longer merely tweaking first-gen Champs rules, and have arrived at actual game design. As a game, thus far, it's only a hack of (at?) those rules, but it's definitely taken on an identity of its own, in procedure. In my experience, that means I'll be finding better and better ways to teach the methods, as a text, rather than merely summarize them. So maybe it'll turn into more of a manuscript, or at least a readable piece, sooner than I thought.

While "it's not worth doing" is probably the right answer, I want to clarify that I did not intend to suggest a manuscript or even complete sentences (though they're nice), merely a classification of exactly what is there.  I mean that "how  to roll to-hit" is a restatement of what is in the rulebook, and it could be in a "Champions In Brief" document.  The 1 END per 5 active points rule belongs there as well, but probably with an asterisk to warn the reader that those with primarily 4e and later experience should pay attention.  On the other hand, the discussion of effect vs. special effect is clearly within the rules but probably adopts a moderately broader interpretation than (what I guess is) typical, so it belongs in something like "Champions 3e the Ron Edwards Way" (which I'd probably be well advised read first so I could understand what is unique about the Champions Now project).  And the Ego Combat maneuvers, being an original invention (and I mean that in a  positive way, I like them) belong in a category of tentative rules changes for the GM to ruminate on.  I think those categories are unambiguous enough that given enough time and rules-flipping I could probably split up the playtest document that way myself.  In fact my first impulse upon reading it was to do precisely that, because I kept having "wait, is this just 3e or something specific to the project goals?" moments.

But just to reinforce the point that I don't intend to be quarrelsome about it, I reiterate that just because I would find it useful doesn't mean it's worth your time doing it.  (Can't blame a guy for asking,though. <grin>)  I just wanted to make the point that a number of subtly different things are going on here, and I thought  it might be worth pointing out that they're separate stumbling blocks not really related to the polish of the document itself.  If it's not the time to spend any effort categorizing, by all means don't let yourself be distracted.  I'd guess that sometime in the next year it will become useful to think about those sources of confusion separately, but if not this won't be the first, or the last, unhelpful suggestion off the internet.  I'm sure it must have happened once or twice before. :-D

As I was about to hit "save" I realized my subconscious was wishing there was a project wiki so that boring grunt work could be offloaded to those who think too much about it.   :-D


Ron Edwards's picture

I should have a been a little clearer, I guess, that I completely agree with you. The multiple functions of the document are crazy-making; even thinking of it as a file or document is nuts.

Since a lot of people are launching into playtesting in good faith even as we speak, I better get to work throwing in pure and simple usability portions. People need to be able to play right out of it rather than trying to annotate the first-generation texts with it. So far, I've left out stuff like what Flash and Entangle actually do, so the next step is to include as much of that as I can think of.

Sure, there were many "what exactly does this mean" moments, but I ignored them.  I imagine everyone knows that the price of being a playtester is chaos.

I *hope* to be a playtester, as you can guess from my interest in the playtest...object?...but I don't know if they'll want to do a second present-day supers game beyond the existing mutant cross of The Incredibles and PS238 (you can't tell I game with my kids these days, can you? <grin>).  I do have vague hopes of running a convention game at the end of the summer.  Is it at all interesting for your purposes to do that in whatever Champions Now has become, even though it loses the important character/campaign generation part (except for people willing to do it by email, I guess)?

Before I noticed the Kickstarter I recently proposed an (eventually) Icon-level (which makes it almost fantasy supers) game in the 13th Age setting.  I was struck by how much porting the 13th Age backgrounds system resembles Champions Now.  I can neither confirm nor deny that after reading the skills part of the playtest...manifesto?... I may or may not have backed the kickstarter partly to encourage you to develop other appropriate things for me to swipe. :-D

I guess I should shut up now and let someone else have a turn.


Ron Edwards's picture

I like that reply! I recognize the enthusiasm.

Yes, please feel free to set up whatever you think will work for a convention run. And you might be surprised at what your kids might do with this.

Regarding 13th Age, D&D 3 and 4, and a bunch of others, the Champions influence is very clear to me (going back to Melee, to be complete). I think a lot of people out there know this system better than they realize.

Part of my interest in the project is that I've always thought that in a sense Champions is just *too* good, good enough to eat its own children as it were.  It didn't create a whole line of invention and experimentation and most players aren't exposed to the ideas.

If I am able to go to the con, my tentative thought is to have my players design characters as specified in the playtest...catechism?...and use those as the basis for con pregens (that doesn't prevent preregister builds via email if I want to allow that).

The 13th Age re-skinning advice certainly makes it clear that the authors understand the power of separating out special effects even if they don't give you the tools to fully exploit it.  I like the explicit character background ties to the cheerfully gonzo setting, but those are really portable bolt-ons.  I don't like the many immersion-breaking decisions based on things that have no in-world existence, and I can never warm up to classes & levels.  Thus if the test adventure becomes a campaign (I like the characters), I have no choice but to bolt a few things onto Hero and port the characters.

Sadly, the Hero kernel is hard to make play as fast as 13th Age without a lot of ripple effects.  I need one that can run a significant combat in an hour at the dinner table without a hexmap.



Here's a question that might be interesting to  others: are there any of the old adventures from the first gen era that you particularly like as examples of the style of play that Champions Now is about?  I have collected a few of them,  but have never run or played  anything from that era so I don't really have a notion of the quality.  This would be a good occasion for me to go back and read in any event, but it would be interesting to know if any constitute particularly good examples for the CN project.

For that matter, running the Champions themselves through Island of Dr Destroyer would certainly be an interesting time-machine experiment at the very least.  Hmm....


Ron Edwards's picture

Yes! I’ve written about it in detail, most recently in these two blog posts which are intended to work together: Best with badness and On and on and on. You’ll probably find Elementary and The game you never heard of interesting as well.

alanb's picture

For me, the best published adventure ever was "The Star-Devourer" by Steve Perrin.

Of course, the author's name gives it away.

Basically, a giant monster tries to eat the Golden Gate Bridge.

Anything else is a bonus.

I've mentioned to Steve that it's online. He doesn't seem to care. So:

alanb's picture

Sorry, try this link for the whole thing:

Running old V&V adventures would be a great time-machine experiment too, both in V&V and ported to Champions.  Was one of the first RPGs, though it was one short scenario and at the time I didn't know enough about comics to really get the point.  I recall that that group did a lot of the descriptive things I tend to associate with more recent games, such as giving bonuses for creative and dramatic narration of what your attack roll represented.


Argh, wish there was an edit button.  That should be "was one of the first RPGs I played," though what I wrote was pretty apropos as well. :-D

Ron Edwards's picture

I'll have to review the V&V rules to see if bonus-for-description was in there, but it's definitely in the first-generation Champions text.

Regarding the modules, you'll see from the links above that I don't regard them highly in terms of actual play following/modeling, but that the colorful villainy is very strong, full of fun potential on its own.

I kind of thought so.  I have always had in mind to play those modules one day, if only because later Champions material often assumes familiarity with them, but I never really learned 3e well enough to do so.  In one way this project would be a fine time to revisit Champions history, but I had a suspicion that it wouldn't be especially useful for playtest purposes.  If nothing else, they don't really have much to do with the character concepts.  Unless hacked up until they do, I guess, which would be reasonable enough.


alanb's picture

The old (first three) Champions adventures are pretty generic. There's not a lot of "there" there.

If I wanted to use them I would run Deathstroke first. It's horribly generic, and you can easily swap out the title villains for others. The biggest problem is motivation. The second part has some value, since it introduces a new villain that begs to be reused. And that's exactly what I would do.

Escape from Stronghold isn't really an adventure. It's more a setting. That's fine. It can be slotted into a whole bunch of games. The non-powered NPCs (guards etc) are potentially useful.

The Island of Doctor Destroyer would be the one I would use last. I would leave it until a significant period of in-game time has elapsed since Deathstroke. I hate having to do that kind of thing, but it would probably be necessary if I was going to do the next thing: Replace Dr Destroyer! The "new villain" from Deathstroke would fit in well here.

Frankly you would get more mileage out of Organization Book 1: The Circle and M.E.T.E. Aaron Allston, naturally.

Obviously the more you put into adventures like this, the more you get out of them. Forshadowing, meeting the NPCs first, etc. That way that they can become part of the story without the seams being too obvious.

WQRob's picture

While Armor is mentioned several times in the playtest document, I don't see a reference to the power itself.  I've been thinking it is 1 resistant defense point per 4 points (essentially Force Field at 0 End) but what is the real power cost?

Ron Edwards's picture

Hi! I'm running into a real document update crunch, where uploading the next change is counter-productive because another one runs onto its heels. I'm shooting for a final, "use this" within the next couple weeks.

Anyway, Armor is gone, and so are Physical/Energy Defense. I've settled onto Defense as a single characteristic, non-resistant for 1:1 point, resistant for 2:1 points, bought up from zero. You can buy it either way or some of each, you can put any Limitation you like on any amount of it, including Focus.

That solves about ten conceptual and quantitative problems, leaving the powers to Force Field and Force Wall, both of which cost Endurace.

WQRob's picture

We are off to a great start with a CW-esque superhero teen drama

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