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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 148 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: airing out the idea for a new supers game  (Read 7203 times)
sean2099
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« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2006, 05:06:50 PM »

Minor characters and/or mooks would not have temptation scores. So, the temptation battles would only take place against the lead villians.

Thats funny; I would think that mooks and minions would actually be more likely undone by their vices and lack of stick-to-it-iveness, than to get taken out by the heroes. I think their are enough examples of thugs panicking or giving in to their desires (at the deteriment of their mission) to warrant some sort of giving up rules. I do see your point though; having a bunch of thugs using those rules could stretch out an encounter. Maybe thugs act as a unit, and only get to invoke temptations as though they were a single opponent. Likewise, may thugs succumb to temptation as a unit (as one member of the ranks talks the rest of the group to go along with their scheme).

Yes, one can see examples of this in comics.  I was thinking of why would heroes use powers vs. temptation and I suppose I was thinking of the thugs as a complication than a story angle.  Perhaps offering variations for rules against thugs...I am of think of times when the mook is just a foil but there are other times when their actions are chilling or provide some sort of moral lession. 

In addition, if there is a scenerio that is not based on a villian's manipulation, then the temptation scores are a potential liability for the players. i.e. there is a train speeding towards a washed-out bridge...the players can't tempt the runaway train but the GM could say something like, there is the chance to get something you want but it depends on critical timing...which the locomotive would interfere with. Now, the temptation is actually a complication. If nothing else, the above event creates resolve and temptation for the players.

Since players are tempted by the GM (though the use of villains and other characters or sitations) I don't see much difference in using non-living elements (like trains) to challenge the characters. They're all extensions of the story and game environment. Obviously, you can't tempt a train, but maybe a player could still interject story elements that makes subduing the train easier...and they take the temptation damage. If they fail, they come to a stop, huffing and puffing as they watch the locomovtive speed away to oblivion. Not totally sure where I'm going with, but maybe you can do something with it.

The use of powers to stop the train would trigger temptation damage, so I am not too worried about tweaking things on that end.  I am thinking that the 'spirit' of the comic would be different if the players could safely say 'if we do nothing about the train, nothing will happen to us' vs 'we gotta stop that train.'   As I think about what kind of game this will become, I worry about scenerios such as the one above.  Perhaps something like temporarily lowering their 'shirk responsibility' score should take place, making it easier to do that again in the future? 

I'll think about this more.

Sean
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daMoose_Neo
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« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2006, 07:50:20 PM »

I'm having a little bit of a disconnect here between the system and genre, and mebbe I have an idea that'll help funnel the aspects you seem to like and reconcile these.
My problem is this, thematically: Superman is Superman. Spiderman is Spiderman. Peter Parker and Clark Kent have responsibilities and people depending on them, but the WORLD depends on these heroes. They CANNOT shirk their responsibilities. Stories are made more nail biting by the complications they introduce, but you know somehow it will work out. Implying that it is actually so, in my mind, is throwing a monkeywrench in some of this. Were DC or Marvel to actually do that, for real and not just some "otherworld what-if" retcon piece, sales would die and so would the characters, or at least the writing staff.

Rather, I don't think this is really a game for costumed heroes, but it is a good one for powered heroes. Ala NBC's Heroes (Yes, I just saw tonights episode, hence why it clicks in my brain now- take with a grain of saly mayhaps?). Here's why, to paraphrase Bruce Wayne from Batman Begins- "As a man...I'm flesh and blood, I can be ignored, destroyed. But as a symbol...As a symbol, I can be incorruptible. I can be everlasting." - Thats what our comic book heroes are. They made this commitment. NBC's Heroes, on the other hand, asks different questions, "What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and could do something amazing?". There is a coming disaster that will need EVERYONE involved, and they are all finding their own way to it. And everyone has different answers, much like what your game as it stands would represent:
- One character running for Congress is trying to ignore his gift, his power, shirking his responsibility. His brother, on the other hand, wants to know more about his own gift and what it means.
- One character can only access his power through heroin use it seems, and is willing to access that power regardless of the personal cost because he sees the future and knows what will happen if something isn't done.
- One character is varying: he's using his power for good, such as finding a missing girl or stopping a robbery, but at the same time, intentionally or not, is still using his power simply to make his life easier, giving into temptation.
- Two characters are already actively using their power for the betterment of the world. One, a girl, has had her own brush with temptation and learned her lesson, but at the same time her heart is in the right place, wanting to do good and avenge wrong. The other, a man from Japan, is a member of the "Merry Marvel Marching Society" and is totally digging the role of hero and savior of the world, using his power for the betterment of mankind and never for personal gain, etc.
- A young woman so far has used her gift unconciously simply to survive bad situations.

Other characters are revealing themselves, antagonists and government agents are showing up, even a "villain", a serial killer who has powers of his own. Its great storytelling for a TV show, and its right up the ally of the kind of story this game would produce. Ordinary people given extraordinary gifts and turned loose on the world: what do they do? Do they do what is right? Do they serve themselves? Do they ignore their power, and in doing so shrug off fate and potentially cost many many lives? Posing more of these questions, instead of "Does Captain Amazing stop Destructor or does he stay home with Susie, the love of his life?" will make using temptation, responsibility shirking rules, and the like much more effective, and I think more interesting.
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Nate Petersen / daMoose
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sean2099
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2006, 09:58:15 AM »

Hey Nate,

Very enlightening paragraph.  I started off thinking about what I call the "dark hero" comics...the gritter and more 'realistic.'  As am I writing this game, things start to fall into place but I wasn't sure where it was going.  I think 'Heroes" is an excellent use of what I have come with so far.  So course, I have just as many questions now.

thanks again,

Sean
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daMoose_Neo
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2006, 08:43:34 AM »

Well, mebbe this is a good suggestion then, because I certainly couldn't see this turning out focusing on such characters.
Punisher has one goal: destroy organized crime and survive to do it again. Almost nothing will tempt him from his goal.
Spawn also has/had one goal: reunite with his wife. Again, little to nothing is capable of tempting him.
The darker heroes are also the more driven ones, part of what makes them so dark is they focus on those goals almost exclusively to the exclusion of anything else in the world. The darkest points of Batman, for example, have him flying off the handle and doing some very uncool things, all in the name of justice. Joker couldn't "tempt" Batman, Bats would kick his face in. In fact, in a recent issue of Green Lantern (my personal fav), Hal tries to reconcile his past with Bruce and explains how he is able to use his will and his ring to affect change, and offers Bruce the chance to use the ring to help him work past the pain he felt from his parent's death. Bruce tries on the ring, some cool stuff happens, but Bruce stops just short of coming to term with that, because he personally needs that pain to continue what he's doing.
Your dark heroes typically have nothing left to lose, but everything to gain by continuing their action. Your system works out that the "hero" could still gain by ignoring what is "right", but suffer a consequence. Or they could lose something but gain the knowledge that they did what was right. Comic heroes, even the dark ones, have something of a one track mind. What that is varies, but nothing will actually divert them from their path.
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Nate Petersen / daMoose
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sean2099
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2006, 03:12:39 PM »

Hey Nate,

I did end up with a fuzzy notion of what you described (game won't work with classic "dark heroes".)  Thinking about it, I was ahead in the direction you had mentioned two posts ago but your last two posts have sped my thoughts along.  I will be following the questions related to having power, trying to figure out what to with it and the consequences of their choices.   That helps answer the question of what is this game about.

What will the players do?  (Hopefully I understand following questions correctly)

The players will make and present choices as to what happens in the game.  They are active participants that have some, ableit limited, influence over all protagnists in the story.  Hopefully, as their character answer the above questions, they would have pondered such questions themselves.

What will the characters do?

The characters have been given a gift (or gifts) by some unknown cause.  They could have been born with their gifts or somehow obtained them during the course of their lifetime.  They battle the temptations (or guilt) that accompany power, sometimes winning and sometimes losing.  Of course, they are tempted while pursuing events as they unfold.

On another note (or question...and this is for everybody)

Concentrating on the heroes for a moment, I have five categories of temptation as follows   Addiction:  , Arrogance  , Revenge  , Shirk Responsibility  , Vigilantism.  I am thinking of adding another category, perhaps 'Selfishness' or something like that.  Any other major category of temptation that people with superpowers would run across?  Any way to simply this before heroes and villians end up with a ton of categories?

That's all for now,

Sean
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Narf the Mouse
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2006, 04:15:41 PM »

Ultimatly, aren't all of those temptations 'Selfishness'?

(Or at least they are to my mind.)
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sean2099
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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2006, 06:29:45 PM »

What would I do if I was granted an extraordinary power?  That is the question I am looking at.  You might be right on a metaphysical level but I believe I would be straying from my goals.  Here, have some cheese:)
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Narf the Mouse
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« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2006, 07:13:06 PM »

Thanks, cheese is always welcome. :)

Hey, your goals, your game. How about a 'revenge' temptation - Or is that vigilantism?
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daMoose_Neo
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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2006, 07:19:43 PM »

Personally, I'd think its either selfish actions or unselfish actions, at least to easily boil it down. The only other group of temptations I could think of are those that are not selfish but personal - "Who will you save Spiderman? This trolley full of people, or the love of your life?! Bwahaha!" - Or, in the case of the last Heroes episode "Either you do as we ask and we forgive the debt you owe us, or we hurt your kid".
I don't think you need to categorize the temptations, but let players define their own. Even something "good" could be a temptation for the right person. The chance to be a hero would be a temptation for the character Hiro, when it might be in the better interest not to engage the situation. IE theres apperently a "hero killer" in the story, so would saving the innocent the hero-killer put in the way to trap him be the right thing, or would pushing past that and proceeding to save the world be the answer?
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Nate Petersen / daMoose
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Ken
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2006, 12:44:57 AM »

I don't think you need to categorize the temptations, but let players define their own.

I think Nate has a point here. Having players list plot threads or holdups for their characters helps direct their individual temptations and mold the usage of them during the game. This would certainly make character write-ups more interesting, and give readers a more instant idea of the character's drives and goals. Also, temptations could be stretched during play; maybe your exact weakness isn't around, but someone or something reminds you of your temptation and pulls at your strings (happy couple that reminds you of you and your girlfriend is in the way of some debris caused by the battle you are in, etc.). Maybe stretching temptations is harder or something (dunno, that would be a mechanical question).

I think your established categories make great guidelines for creating individual temptations, and also paves the way for including more positive drives for a character.

As far as your core idea: super people vs. super heroes, your system ideas hold up great.

Take care,

Ken
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sean2099
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2006, 06:29:49 AM »

I agree with the overarching catergories of temptation but as you stated Ken, I was thinking of categories for the individual...not everyone is tempted by the same thing even though as humans, we do (at times) give in to them.  I could see a list of guidelines (as Narf suggested) showing what ways an individual could be tempted and then say something like, pick 5 and here are x number of points to place in the catergories you chose.  If there is a category that suits the character but it is not listed, feel free to use your catergory(ies) instead."  Perhaps even I could place a suggestion stating "to help give your character a more complex personality, you might want to pick a mixture of 'good' and 'bad' catergories."

Food for thought.

sean
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dindenver
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« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2006, 05:28:51 PM »

Hi!
  I think one thing you want to consider, that every decision is the right decision. Make the mechanics such that there is no broadly-defined advantage/disadvantage to choosing: using someone else's temptation, resisting your own temptation, falling to your own temptation, using a power or any other option defined in the game.
  What I mean is, Say there is Temptation, Resolve and Drama, so the matrix of mechanics might be:
1) Tapping someone else's temptation: -Resolve +Drama
2) Failing to tap someone else's temptation: -Temptation +Drama
3) Falling to temptation: -Temptation +Resolve
4) Resisting temptation: -Resolve +Temptation
5) Using a Power: -Drama +Temptation
6) Monologuing: -Drama, +Resolve
  See how strategically, there is no advantage or disadvantage to choosing an option, but it is definitely possible to cull tactical advantages from each.
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sean2099
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« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2006, 06:11:40 PM »

Hi Dindenver:

That sounds like an interesting idea but please explain how drama would fit.  Perhaps I am a bit dense since I am still learning about different kinds of rpgs.  Would drama allow the player to alter story or what?  I am not dismissing idea or anything...I am just more interested to hear what you envision drama doing.
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dindenver
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« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2006, 06:20:03 AM »

Hi!
  Well, I mostly added it for the numeric balance. But as an off the top of my head idea, it would represent your char's influence on the environment (where it seemed like Temptation and Resolve are purely internalized to the character). Of course, you could replace it with a third resource that fits with your own ideal of the game/setting.
  But the main point of the idea was that, every "move" has an equally impactful advantage and disadvantage. So, feel free to discard my little matrix and come up with your own. But, seriously consider setting it up so that the player can't look at the mechanics and think, "Ah, so I just have to keep doing X and all will be well..."
  To get a idea of what I am aiming at, try playing ...In Spaaace! This is a game where everyone wins:
http://www.gregstolze.com/inSpaaace.zip
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sean2099
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« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2006, 12:23:41 PM »

Hi Din,

I like the matrix idea.  Resolve and Temptation balance each other and I am thinking of having drama work by a vote system.  Whenever someone wants to change an aspect of the story, the others can veto it by spending drama points or support the idea by adding more tokens.  Of course, I would have to go back and take another look at the matrix.

Sean
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