Dark Future Heroes Issue #1

So the game began with a whimper. I was not able to do a lot of prep, so I started out with a lazy kind of story. The players jumped all over a incidental character and totally took the story in a new direction.
I had to completely change the direction I was going to take the game. I had a lot of fun, and the players said they had fun too. Hopefully we will be able to maintain some momentum and continue the sessions. So far the cast consists of Terry Miles (the former military man), Hank (the bossy woodsman), Vincent (the mechanic), and Preacher. These four have managed to land jobs within the "Special Projects" department of the August Corp.
We are still learning the fate system and the story element combat are new to me so I am just hoping to make the first couple of sessions quick paced.


Act 1 Scene 3: The Chase Begins

The Cats owner smiles at Ofriox and says "You poor misunderstood creature, I am who I am, and you have signed a pact with me to save my cat. I would recommend you honour your agreements with Mystanmyr!"

Drift, Vyu and Soekkiu reach the end of the street just moments ahead of McKinley and Anibka. The pair has disappeared into the crowd on the side street leading to one of the towns main market plazas. Iwan is perched on a second floor balcony and is pointing towards a window across the street yelling "One of them went in that window!" With that he flaps his wings and heads down the side street towards the market. "The other one went this way!"

Vyu and Soekkiu start sprinting down the crowded side street. The knock over many locals in an effort to keep up with Iwan. Briemi reaches the corner, he just catches Vyu as he disappears into the crowd. Anibka and McKinley are looking at a street level window. Drift is staring blankly at the dwarf as he approaches the trio.

Briemi is about to ask what is going on when several of the green and brown armoured city watch start pushing their way through the crowds. McKinley curses under his breath and dives in through the window. "It's Clear! Quick get every one inside." He calls from inside.

McKinley is next through the window, followed by Drift. Anibka drops into the room and tells the group "Ofriox just arrived, he is running interference with the watch, but I don't know how much time it will buy us." She peers back trough the window, grimacing. "I don't give two flying farts about that cat, but those two will answer for the damage to my bar before they answer to the watch."

As she speaks Drift starts to leave the room, slowly plodding down the hall outside. Briemi reminds Anibka, "It's my bar too. " He motions to the hall and says "we better not let Drift get too far ahead. "

After the dwarf and Anibka leave McKinley pauses to watch the city watch as they try to deal with Ofriox. A small group of Ofriox's mass breaks off and heads to wards the city market, another flies into the room as McKinley watches. "I thought you'd never join us, lets get moving." Shutting the window and throwing the lock closed McKinley and a small bit of Ofriox head down the hall way after Drift, Briemi and Anibka.

Rolling the dice...

I am looking at some different dice options for my upcoming super hero game. I think I am going to give each person a 8 dice pool. The pools will consist of: 4 regular dice and 4 super dice. The regular dice can be used at any time, the super dice can only be used to augment or defend from a super powered action.

These dice could be added to a roll or could be used in place of a wound. I think allowing for the super dice to absorb wounds is a little powerful but it would allow a player to play a character with no super powers and still survive a battle with a super villain.

These dice will give normal power characters a way of augmenting their abilities without spending fudge points for every action. These dice would not refresh automatically though, some event (rest or healing for example) would be required to recover these dice.

I am not sure how this will work out but I am looking forward to trying it out.

I am also looking at using "wild cards" as a means of character development. I am going to try the FATE game system ( but I am going to allow for on the fly character generation. At points along the way the players will draw cards, and anyone who draws a wild card can gain a super power, everyone else gains a regular aspect. Super powers will be treated like an aspect except: super powers get 4 skills and 2 stunt points rather than four skills points. The skill points must all be spent on skills directly related to the super power. Stunt points can be spent on stunts for the super power. Skill points can also be used to buy stunts.

So the aspect City Cop could gain the skills: observation, firearms, driving, and kowledge:law. The super power Ice Creation(Heroic Scale) could gain the skills: Shield, Sled, Sword, Bolt (with 2 stunts), it could not gain the skills firearms, or driving.


The Big Secret

Okay, I am coming clean...

Almost a year ago I GM'd a d20 game based in a smallish town. Their were some strange murders going on, their was a large dark smelly monk running around town, there were some sneaky robed figures robbing homes and businesses, and their was a smuggling problem.

The party nearly killed themselves trying to solve all this. They thought:
The monk was the kingpin of crime, running the smuggling operation.
His minions were were killing the people that knew too much.
They were also looting the homes of those that were too powerful to kill off.

Totally wrong, and since the campaign will never be completed I will reveal the secrets here. First the monk was just a distraction. I didn't have anything planned for him but pressed him into service for a quick mission when only have the group showed up.

The murders were a vary complicated plot.
Day 1:
Martin Roban (the cobbler) dies in the wilderness and becomes a memory eater (from the Creature Collection by Sword and Sorcery Studios) . Memory eaters remember their lives and do not realize they are undead. They return to their jobs and homes only to have family and friends flee in terror. They kill there friends and family. Once these people are consumed it gains some of their memories and the patterns repeats.

Day 3:
Martin returns home and kills his wife Sarah Roban.

Day 4:
Martin returns to work and kills Jacob Wren his apprentice. Jacob Wren become a memory eater as well.

Day 10:
Martin kills William Blythe, Sarah's brother.

Day 12:
Martin kills Kent Lyske, William's employer. Kent Lyske also becomes a memory eater.
Jacob Wren kills Katy, a waitress and former girlfriend.

Day 17:
Kent Lyske kills Brent Lyske his brother and William Blythes landlord.

Day 19:
Martin kills Grant Speary the tanner.

Day 20:
Kent kills Laurence Clavy his former best friend

Day 21:
Jacob kills Cassandra Youge, Katy's best friend

Day 24:
Jacob kills Albert Younge, Cassandras father and Rebecca Younge, Cassandra's mother. Rebecca Younge becomes a memory eater as well.
Martin kills Thomas Banik, customer of Grant Speary.

Day 25:
Kent kills Dennis Carre, Laurence Clavy's brother-in-law

Day 29:
Martin kills Randy Fallmen, associate of Thomas Banik
Kent kills London Lyske, Kent's brother
Jacob kills Mitchell Cooper, Cassandra Younge's boyfriend
Rebeccca kills Geoffry Wilson, Rebecca Younge's boyfriend.

Now to complicate matters the robberies were being committed by ratmen living under the city. They would find out about people who had been killed and then clean out their homes and businesses, so the party only had 2 to 4 days before the evidence would be totally removed. Also many of the murders were not reported the day they happened so the party would have to construct the timeline then find the connection.

They were actually almost onto it, they actually witnessed one of the murders but because they were trying to tie the murders and the robberies to the monk they lost the trail and had to start again.

The ratmen they actually solved that part, if not in the way I anticipated. They decided to stake out the Younge household and managed to surprise some ratmen in the act of robbing the house. They then found he entrance to the catacombs and cleaned them out.

Thinking they had solved the murders they left town and were planning to return. I kept up the murders and the random chance the victim would become a memory eaters. When they returned to town they would have found the town in complete shambles. The town watch and the monk would hold only a small part of town besieged by the masses of undead and pockets of ratmen. Another part of town is held by the crime boss and his family.

Oh and the smuggling problem. That was just something to get them out of town to allow for the Memory Eaters to get started and multiply. So they took a job with the crime lord to deliver a package. It kept them out of town until day 10. I was going to have the smuggling problem slowly deteriorate the economy so that the costs in the town would slowly rise, but that was just an afterthought.

Carl's Superheroic rules dilemma

Carl's problem strikes close to home because I was planning my own superhero campaign at the same time Carl was planning his.

The problem is the scale of abilities:

So let's say we have the following non-overlapping Scales:
* Normal
* Heroic
* Super
* Cosmic
Heroic always beats Normal, Super always beats Heroic, etc. Extenuating circumstances can change this... multiple Normals combining their efforts might be able to win over a Heroic character, etc. And, of course, this doesn't describe the whole character... just individual abilities. So you could have Great Super Strength, but only Normal Superb Armor, for instance.
The idea I am playing with is this. Take Heroic and make it twice as good as Normal. So when doing a dice contest Heroic rolls twice and can add 2 to those rolls. Normal rolls once. Normal has to beat both Heroic rolls to win Heroic only has to beat normal with one. Normal can beat Heroic, but it is not very likely.

I also like dice pools a lot. I will probably give each player a dice pool of 5 to 9 dice for power stunts and the like. If the Normal character really needs to beat Heroic then adding dice from the pool will better his odds but it will still be in Heroic' favour.

Super would roll 4 times and add 4 to the rolls. So Normals chances are really really limited. And Cosmic rolls 6 times and adds 6 to the rolls. Normal just doesn't really stand a chance.

I would also allow for Fudge points to assist the test. I have several ideas I want to test out, where Normal spends a fudge point: to get extra dice for the test, to reduce the opponents addition to the roll by 2 (Heroic adds 0, Super adds 2, Cosmic adds 4), to eliminate one of the opponents rolls (Heroic rolls once, Super 3 times, cosmic 5 times). The one thing I want to block is the use of fudge points to get a ridiculous result. I remember reading on Dragon Magazine (I think) about the Marvel Superheros Game an how it was technically possible for Aunt May to use X number of Karma Points to get an automatic kill result on Galactus.

One final though before bedtime. A lot has been said about Cyclops and how he seems to be a one trick pony, and that a single dimensional hero would not survive in an rpg. I think one of the problems is that Cyclops was designed to be part of the team. I think that if you analyze the comics characters like Thor, the Hulk, Spider-man are designed to be stand alone heros so they have powers that are more fully rounded, offensive and defensive. While the teams X-Men, Avengers, Alpha Flight contain characters that were designed as part of the team. Players can design a single character to play like Thor, or they can design a team of characters to play like New Mutants. The same limits placed on the single character apply to the team but the team is played as a unit but a single player. It allows for Cyclops to be a one trick pony because he is only one aspect of the team he is part of.


Game Dream #13

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #13

How do your players determine whether a creature / obstacle / NPC is "out of their league"? What happens then? Do the players immediately attempt to flee? Is there in-character or out-of-character decision making? Do you usually have an escape route planned?
Okay, this game dream has so many different memories jumping out of my grey matter. I spent a great deal of time sorting through some great game memories that all start when I have has that sinking feeling ... "Uh-oh, we are in serious trouble here."

As a player I generally play fairly heroic, sometimes tragically heroic, sometimes not, but I am never too afraid to take on something that might be beyond my characters abilities. As a player I have had some serious and some funny moments were I have not seen the danger until it was too late.

I had an acrobatic rogue type that was trying to save a healer. I knew I was in over my head but I figured I would use tactics to save my butt and the healers'. We were toe to toe with a large wing-less dragon. I waited until the dragon struck then I ran up his leg and onto his head. Ah-ha! I thought, now I have the advantage, I can attack and he can't strike back. The DM gave me three chances to leap off the dragons back. Each time I gleefully drove my short sword home. It wasn't until the DM started rolling dice and a fellow player asked how high the ceiling was that a I got a very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can proudly state I did save the healer, but it was by sacrificing myself because the party did escape as I was integrated into the ceiling.

I can remember a famous battle where we were in a small room with a bone devil and a skeleton. We were quite powerful so we made the bone devil got splat rather quickly. It was then that the skeleton boomed out in a rather impressive voice (and this is a direct quote) :
"Now foolish mortals face the wrath of.... dammit! I can't pronounce this name!".

Once we finished ridiculing the DM we realized that the skeleton was not just fodder and we were in trouble. Prismatic walls were in place to protect the skeleton, a well timed Disjunction spell reduced my mighty fighter to a whimpering shell. All that saved us was the mages' well used wish. Now the best part of this entire story line is this party of earth shaking hero's ran in fear every time we even thought a skeleton was anywhere near us. As players we all new the 4 skeletons roaming around the graveyard were not going to be the massively powerful liches that humbled us entirely, but we thought the characters would be a little scared for a bit.

Now I can also remember one such event where the players not only triumphed over forces beyond their abilities but changed the campaign substantially. The party was pretty much entirely made up of fighters. In the party was a blade master, completely dedicated to his sword. We were hired by a baron to clean up a infestation of monsters in the catacombs under his keep. All things went well until the blade master discovered that the monsters spat acid. His beloved blade was ruined. We climbed back into the keep and the baron was there with a surprising number of guards.

The blade master threw the ruined sword at the feet of the baron and demanded that it be replaced. The baron demanded an apology. Words were exchanged. Out of character discussions were held. Finally, myself and another player took matters into our own hands. We knew that to try to fight our way out we were dead men (and dwarves) but if we took the baron as a hostage... We ended up carrying out a months long guerrilla war campaign against the baron. He would send out patrols to capture us, we would kill them an send the uniforms or badges back to the baron. This baron was supposed to be our ally and benefactor but he turned out to be the main villain for the campaign.

As a GM my favorite in over your head moment came in a rolemaster game. I did not own any monster books so everything was a character. I had a NPC I had added to the group because they were a little weak, but then we had three new players join. So I changed my plans for the group. I had the 'friendly' NPC turn into a nasty traitor. The group had just managed to defeat a pair of orcs when the traitor struck. His two cohorts (a great man and a arch mage) rushed in and the three bad guys hit the party while they were still recovering from the previous battle.

Now the players were a odd bunch. One of the more normal players was a half-elven weretiger who was also a healer of sorts. Once the traitorous ambush was complete the trio fled down a hallway. The weretiger chased them down and noticed that the great man (about 9-10 feet tall in full plate mail armour) was guarding the retreat of the other and was standing mere feet from a 50 foot deep pool of water.

"I'm going to charge into him and try to knock him into the water." the weretiger explained.
"Are you sure? He was just man handling you guys earlier, maybe you should help the party with their wounds first." I warned.
"I'll knock him into the water, then go help the guys."
"Okay" I said shrugging.

The weretiger made a pretty spectacular roll for his attack, and as I had anticipated the great man completely obliterated it.
"He reaches out and catches you as you charge into him. He has a fairly good grip on your neck, and he hasn't shifted more than ten centimeters closer to the pool."
The weretiger gets that 'Oh shit' look, and says "Can I break free?"
"sure" I reply
"I'm going to go help the group with their wounds..."

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