*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 19, 2022, 02:46:36 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
Print
Author Topic: Superheroes: [what next?]  (Read 17313 times)
Eric Bennett
Member

Posts: 43


WWW
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2006, 05:09:57 PM »

Under your special abilities section, you include a sidebar for both Contacts and Skills to be chosen/randomly rolled by the players as an optional rule. Wouldn't a logical extension of this be to include the super powers in that rule as well? Unless your game is extrememly dependent on powers being random, I don't see why you wouldn't want to give that option. A player coming in to read this text is going to find the fact that you have two of the three topics sidebared for flexibility while the third is not to be "flagging" the random nature of super powers, and I would take a guess that one of the first houserules made on this game would be to allow selecting powers.
Logged

http://mythos.pbwiki.com
Check out the developing draft of Mythos, the game of horrific discovery here!
Elishar
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2006, 05:59:12 PM »

Under your special abilities section, you include a sidebar for both Contacts and Skills to be chosen/randomly rolled by the players as an optional rule. Wouldn't a logical extension of this be to include the super powers in that rule as well? Unless your game is extrememly dependent on powers being random, I don't see why you wouldn't want to give that option. A player coming in to read this text is going to find the fact that you have two of the three topics sidebared for flexibility while the third is not to be "flagging" the random nature of super powers, and I would take a guess that one of the first houserules made on this game would be to allow selecting powers.

I was thinking about that but I felt that making powers random was important enough role-playing and balance wise (for reasons explained earlier in the thread) that I should not offer an optional rule for it.  If players end up house-ruling that they want powers determined I can't really stop them, though as the creator of the game I advise against it and that is why I didn't make it an optional rule.
Logged
Eric Bennett
Member

Posts: 43


WWW
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2006, 06:06:07 PM »

I'm reading in bits and pieces while I eat, so forgive me if my commentary seems slightly fragmented.

One you thing you may want to check the document over for is lines like this

Quote
The system used in
SUPERHEROES is the d6 System, named because the only die required to play
is a standard six sided die (some role-playing games have up to six different
kinds of dice)

Never ever ever bash other games in your text. That is a great way to turn players off to what you are offering, I think, and shows a lack of decorum that is very unappealing. Just look over at some reviews on RPG.net of things like The Short-And-Sweet Roleplaying Game review where the "we are not D&D vibe" overwhelmed what the authors were saying. (Note, I am referring to an older review than is on the frontpage there.)

Anyway, I'll keep reading through this and if I see anything else that jumps out and waves a red flag at me, I'll let you know.

reading machine,
Eric
Logged

http://mythos.pbwiki.com
Check out the developing draft of Mythos, the game of horrific discovery here!
Ken
Member

Posts: 196


WWW
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2006, 08:10:28 PM »

Hey all,

I haven't had a chance to check out much of the game yet, but it looks extensive. I'm only chiming in because your original post mentioned "market ready" which I'm guessing means you intend to sell your book. If so, I want to give you some advice:  You may need to change the title. The term superhero is not a generic term. Marvel and DC comics share a joint trademark on the word, which is why they are the only ones who have superheroes and everyone else has posthumans, powers, supers, novas, ultras, deltas, science heroes, etc. I don't know the extent of the law, or the extent of your publishing plans, but I thought you should know. Also, I wouldn't mention any Marvel characters in your book, even if you are just using them as a point of reference. If this is just a fun project and not a money maker, then I'm sure its no problem, otherwise exercise caution.

Not sure if anyone else has brought this up yet or not. I don't mean to hijack the thread...so, carry on. I hope to chime in again once I've had a chance to read the book.

Take care,

Ken
Logged

Ken

10-Cent Heroes; check out my blog:
http://ten-centheroes.blogspot.com

Sync; my techno-horror 2-pager
http://members.cox.net/laberday/sync.pdf
Elishar
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2006, 08:50:49 PM »

Hey all,

I haven't had a chance to check out much of the game yet, but it looks extensive. I'm only chiming in because your original post mentioned "market ready" which I'm guessing means you intend to sell your book. If so, I want to give you some advice:  You may need to change the title. The term superhero is not a generic term. Marvel and DC comics share a joint trademark on the word, which is why they are the only ones who have superheroes and everyone else has posthumans, powers, supers, novas, ultras, deltas, science heroes, etc. I don't know the extent of the law, or the extent of your publishing plans, but I thought you should know. Also, I wouldn't mention any Marvel characters in your book, even if you are just using them as a point of reference. If this is just a fun project and not a money maker, then I'm sure its no problem, otherwise exercise caution.

Not sure if anyone else has brought this up yet or not. I don't mean to hijack the thread...so, carry on. I hope to chime in again once I've had a chance to read the book.

Take care,

Ken

Those are some good points.  Superheroes is just a working title because I haven't thought of anything more original yet that I like.  Adding the references to Marvel was a late addition that I included for those who are familiar with those games.  I'll probably axe it in later versions to avoid copywrite problems.  Yes, my goal is eventually to get this published but that is a long way off.  My main priority right now is to make the game as best as possible and to get some people to playtest it.  Actually getting the game published is a whole new can of worms that I don't even want to deal with yet.
Logged
billvolk
Member

Posts: 39


« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2006, 09:05:24 PM »

Some comments on the design of the document itself:
You chose an interesting font for the genre you're covering. It seems more suited to a fantasy setting than a modern one. Is this because you wanted to convey the somewhat non-traditional flavor of your Armageddon setting?
Are you considering creating or commissioning illustrations? If you don't want to invest in hiring an artist, which is perfectly reasonable, at least consider creating your own cover art. Even if you don't think you can draw well, nothing can convey flavor more clearly than a picture, and some potential users (myself included) appreciate designers that do their own art and won't scrutinize them as much as they would scrutinize commissioned artists.
Logged
Elishar
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2006, 10:15:07 PM »

Some comments on the design of the document itself:
You chose an interesting font for the genre you're covering. It seems more suited to a fantasy setting than a modern one. Is this because you wanted to convey the somewhat non-traditional flavor of your Armageddon setting?
Are you considering creating or commissioning illustrations? If you don't want to invest in hiring an artist, which is perfectly reasonable, at least consider creating your own cover art. Even if you don't think you can draw well, nothing can convey flavor more clearly than a picture, and some potential users (myself included) appreciate designers that do their own art and won't scrutinize them as much as they would scrutinize commissioned artists.

Yeah, I definetly wanted something special for the Armageddon setting.  In addition, all of the more modern fonts I looked at (I looked at over 1,000 different fonts) were either hard to read or didn't appeal to me and while this one could be seen as a bit of more fantasy in style I think its better then using a generic windows font.

I used to be a pretty good artist but its been a long time since I drew anything.  I'd like to have some good artwork in my game but there's no way I can hire an artist on my non-existant budget right now.  I definetly think cover art is a must though I'm a bit stuck on what image I want to be the coverpage of my game.  A combat scene doesn't seem completely appropriate for my game and are incredibly difficult to draw but I do want something that jumps out at the reader.  Any suggestions?
Logged
Elishar
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2006, 10:21:13 PM »

I did some reading on the other superhero games mentioned and got a bit more inspiration for my game.  I wanted to do something very interesting with how rounds are played out in combat in my game.  That is why I came up with the reverse initiative system I have in place right now.  If I remember correctly itís a bit similar to Whitewolfís combat system.  However, the system never sat completely well with me as it seems overly complex and potentially could make combat too slow.

After looking at the other systems though I think I have a better alternative and Iíd like to hear from all of you if you think that its better.  This new combat system introduces a new Attribute, called Speed, which determines how quickly and how often a character can act in combat.  In this system combat is broken into 5 second rounds.  Each round is then broken into 5, 1 second sections called moments.  Combat begins by each participate in the combat rolling a d6 for each rank in Speed they have.  The d6 rolls for each participant are summed together and the characters are listed on a sheet of paper in order from highest to lowest.  This determines who is quickest to act at any given moment.  At the beginning of each round, each character then again rolls a d6 for each rank in Speed they have.  For every 3, 4 or 5 the player rolls their character can act once in that round.  For every 6 the player rolls their character can act twice in that round.  For example, a character with 4 ranks in speed that rolls a 6,5,2,1 could act 3 times in the first round.

At the beginning of each moment each character, from lowest speed roll to highest, indicates if they want to use one of their actions in that moment.  Then, each character that has decided to act in that moment, in order from highest to lowest, can perform any one action they desire.

Actions Include:
-Attacking in melee
-Performing a special attack
-Firing a gun
-Using a power
-Using a ranged weapon
-Moving (standard movement is 10 feet per action though the Lightening Speed power increases that amount.)
-Climbing
-Jumping
-Standing up from prone
-anything else that takes a second or two for a normal person to do.

Hereís an example of how combat can play out.  Because I lack the creativity right now to come up with superhero names, Iíll just use the names A, B, and C.

A, B, and C first roll a d6 for each rank they have in speed and sum the d6 rolls together.  A has 2 ranks in Speed and rolls 6,5 giving him a total of 11.  B has 4 ranks in Speed and rolls 4,3,3,2 giving him a total of 12.  C has 3 ranks in Speed and rolls 5,2,1 giving him a total of 8.  So the order of action is B, A, C.  Each character then rolls a d6 for each rank they have in speed again, this time keeping track of how many fours, fives, and sixes they roll.  A rolls 4,2 which means he only gets to act once this round.  B rolls 6,4,3,2 which means he gets to act 3 times this round.  C rolls 5,4,4 which allows him to also act 3 times this round.  If a character winds up being able to act more than 5 times in a round he may act twice in a single moment though his second action of the moment follows all other people acting in the moment.  Any actions not used by the end of the round are wasted and cannot be carried over to the next round.

Now that these rolls have been made, combat is ready to begin with the first moment of the first round.  C, having the lowest sum, must decide if he wants to spend one of his actions this moment.  C decides to save his moments for later and passes.  A, having the next lowest sum, is next to decide if he wants to act this moment.  Because he only gets to act once this round, he wants to make it count so he decides to save his action as well.  B is the last to decide if he wants to act because he has the highest sum.  Seeing that neither of his opponents have decided to act B decides to start things off with a bang and acts.  B, using one of his powers for his action, fires a Piercing Missile at A.  B and A make an Accuracy vs. Agility check to determine if the Piercing Missile hits.  B has 2 ranks in accuracy and rolls a 5,4.  A has 3 ranks in agility and rolls a 5,3,2.  Both playerís highest rolls are a 5 so neither character gets a success.  Bís next highest roll, a 4, is higher then Aís next highest roll, a 3, and so B gets one success.  B is out of dice but A still has one die remaining.  Because that die isnít a 1, A automatically gets a success.  Because each character has one success and tie goes to the defender, Bís piercing missile misses A by a hair and slams into a nearby wall instead.  B now can only act two more times this round.

We now move onto the second moment of the first round.  C leads off in decided if he wants to act and decides that he wants some action too.  A only has one action and is loathe to use it early, despite Bís attempted attack on him, and decides to pass this moment.  B, suspecting that C wants to get the jump on him, decides to spend his second action during this moment.  Because B has a higher sum than C, B gets to act first in this moment.  B uses his action to move and take cover behind a wall to avoid being flanked by C.  C decides to be tricky with his action though and slashes at Bís mind with his Psionic Attack power.  Because the power is range dependent no Accuracy vs. Agility check is needed to see if the attack hits.  C and B make a Rank vs. Wisdom check, as decribed in the power description, to see if the Psionic Attack stuns B.  B, not wanting to potentially lose the chance to act by becoming stunned, decides to boost his Wisdom by 2 for this opposed roll by spending 2 energy points.  C has 4 ranks in Psionic Attack and rolls a 6,4,3,1.  B has only 3 ranks in Wisdom normally but because he spent 2 energy points to raise his Wisdom he gets to roll 5d6 instead of 3d6 and rolls a 5,5,3,3,1.  Cís 6 matches up with Bís 5, giving C one success.  Bís next roll is also a 5, which beats Cís 4 and gives B one success also.  Both B and C have a 3 for their next roll so neither player gets a success.  Cís last roll is a 1 while B has another 3, giving B another success for a total of 2.  C is out of dice while B still has one die left but that die is a 1 so B doesnít receive a success for it.  The final tally is B with 2 successes and C with 1 so B does not become stunned.  Looks like B spending energy points paid off.  B now only has one action remaining for this turn while C still has two.

Next comes the third moment.  C starts and decides he wants to use his second action this moment.  A decides to hold out a bit longer and passes yet again.  B only has one action left and he wants decides he wants to save it and passes as well.  C is the only player who decided to act so his character is free to act.  C uses his action to move, increasing the distance between him and A while maneuvering so that Bís cover no longer protects him from Cís attacks.  C now only has one action left.

Weíre now up to the fourth moment in the first round.  C decides to save his action for the last moment and passes.  A decides the time is right and makes his move here.  B, also decides to spend his last action in the fourth moment.  B gets to act first and decides to activate his Invisibility power, causing to disappear from the battlefield.  A is next to act and uses his action to move to where he last saw B so he has a better chance of noticing the slight distortions the Invisibility power causes.  A and B now has no actions remaining this round.

Now for the final moment in this round.  C is the only character with an action left so he decides to use it because wasted actions donít carry over until next round.  C can no longer see B but A is in clear view so C decides to blast A with his Energy Missile power.  C and A roll an Accuracy vs Agility check.  C has 2 ranks in accuracy and rolls a 4,3.  A has 3 ranks in agility and rolls a 3,2,2.  Cís 4 matches up with Aís 3, giving him one success.  Cís 3 then matches up with Aís 2, giving C another success.  C is out of dice and Aís last roll isnít a 1 so A gets an automatic success.  The final tally is C with 2 successes and A with once.  The Energy Missile slams into A with incredible force and C cackles madly as A is consumed in brilliant energy.  Because C hit he and A must now make a Damage vs Constitution check.  Damage for Energy Missile is the rank of the power, as stated in the power description.  A decides not to augment his Constitution by spending energy points.  C has 5 ranks in Energy Missile and rolls a 6,6,3,2,2.  A has 4 ranks in Constitution and rolls a 6,5,3,2.  Both of C and Aís first roll is a 6 so neither player gets a success.  Cís second roll of also a 6 beats Aís 5, giving C one success.  C and Aís next two rolls are both equal so neither player receives successes for them.  A is out of dice but C still has one die remaining.  Because the die isnít a 1 C get another success, raising his total to 2.  A winds up with zero successes and so he must cover Cís successes with 2 of his Health Points.

This concludes the first round of combat.  All three player will again roll to see how many actions they receive in the next round but the order of their action remains the same (B,A,C.)

So, what do you guys think?  I think it might be better then my current system but it would require me to rework a lot of the powers to adjust for the smaller time interval with which powers can be used.
Logged
Joel P. Shempert
Member

Posts: 451


WWW
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2006, 12:36:09 AM »

Some thoughts. . .

Yes, I realized that this could be a very large problem with my game.  Thatís why I implemented an attribute called Energy, which basically allows characters to do pretty much anything they want as long as they pay enough energy.  The system still needs a lot more development and expansion but itís a start.  I am also debating whether or not I should increase the amount of energy points characters have to make the game more dramatic.

With respect, this seems like a patch job solution--rather than redesigning the foundational mechanics to avoid the shortcoming, you're going to slam a mitigating mechanic on like a band-aid to try and correct for the problem after the fact. This reminds me of the design philosophy of some collectible card games (at least back in the day). They would have the initial set of cards, and as those got played, really broken and overbalancing cards would emerge. So then the next expansion would include a card to counter that card; the best examples were general-use, but the worst of the breed were as specific as "Play to counter [name of card]." What you're essentially saying is, "Hey, I know the powers are overspecific so you can't do what you really want, but guess what? I;ll give you points to spend so you can do what you really want." Why not just let players do what they really want from the start?

It occurs to me, though, that to fully understand what you even mean about the Energy Points, I'm going to need your definition of "pretty much anything they want."

The other thing I realized what that there was no way I would think of all the things a given power could do.  Thatís one of the chief reasons why I wanted more playtesting done.  Players with the elongation power should be able to do all the things Mr. Fantastic power can do and my chief job is allowing the characters to do all of them and yet retain balance.  So yeah, maybe I should include a power augmentation where if the character pays one energy point they can act as if they had the Body Armor power for one round at an equal rank, thereby duplicating how Mr. Fantastic absorbs bullets with his body.

I think you're laboring under the misconception that to, for instance, support "all the things a given power could do," you've got to model the power exactly, adding more and more parameters until it's practically computer code for that power's physics. And this is one way to go, surely, but NOT the only way. And as Eero has been saying, Champions already pulls off this design preference well, and is the preferred system for this play style. Which means that if that's the direction you want, you're going to have to beat Champions. Or at least, offer something very unique that Champions ain't got.And anyway, I don't think this "wheels within wheels" approach to modeling the nuances of powers (Elongation becomes Speed for this usage and becomes Body Armor for this usage and. . .) is the most elegant way to go. At least, what others seem to be suggesting is a more freeform approach with fluid limits to the power. ("You want to stretch all the way up to the skyscraper's roof? OK, make your power using roll. . .3 successes! That'll do it.") It'll require more good faith in the players that they'll stay within reasonable confines of the power's scope, unlike, say, Reed stretching his brain (and probably get them to define that scope at chargen--"I can't stretch too far, but I've can do wicked shapes!), but it'll eliminate that downer experience of "well, this power is KIND of like what I want to do, but not quite. . .I guess I'm stuck with it." Also, I don't want to open up a can of worms, but you might want to consider the difference between task resolution and conflict resolution. the latter asks not, "how many meters did I stretch," but "did I stretch far enough." i.e. far enough to save the falling bystander, or far enough to cut off the villain's escape. It would really fit with the flexibility of powers' limits in actual comics, plus it would slot in really well those dilemmas you want to focus on, such as Save Kids vs. Keep job.

Well, the thing I always loved about comic books was the character conflicts so that is what I would have to choose.  However, that doesnít appeal to everyone and I wouldnít spend my money on a game that didnít have great role-playing, tactical combat, and great game balance.  So really, I wonít stop working on this game until I feel like I have the complete package.

I think you're issing the point here, which is design focus. I don't think the game has been made, and isn't likely to be, which supports and facilitates all styles of play equally, and well. It's not that a game isn't a "complete package" if it doesn't support both heavy tactics and heavy dramatic issues. In fact the design philosophy that's being alluded to here is that it's impossible to support both equally, so a good design should focus on what it wants to be most important.

I would agree with you to a point but I am very hesitant to place rules in place that could limit the creativity of the GM or in any way constrict where he wants the plot to go.  This is one of those things that I hope to improve upon after some playtesting to see if these rules truly do need to be implemented or if they would end up doing more harm than good.

I think what you're failing to realize is that the system you've GOT is going to "limit the creativity of the GM" and "constrict where he wants the plot to go." In your game, the GM doesn't say, "OK, this cool thing happens and it happens like this." He says "OK, so this thing happens. . .it's moving at a rate of. . .(checks book) 50 MPH, and has Armor of. . .(checks) 3. . .it lands. . .(counts) 30 feet from your characters." The point of this hypothetical is not that the system bogs down in details (though that is a danger you should consider), but that the GM didn't get to say (well this guy moves about yea fast and it lands where I damn well want 'im to." He's bound by the movement rates and other parameters the powers have.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It may be just what you want in a roleplaying experience. But you should be aware of just what effect it will have on play. And consider that your design choices aren't so much about limiting or not limiting, but in deciding which areas to limit. Kinda like (to get political for a second) when people advocate "Free trade," they're not saying "completely deragulate commerce,' they're saying "well, of COURSE regulate commerce, but regulate it in our favor."

After looking at the other systems though I think I have a better alternative and Iíd like to hear from all of you if you think that its better.  This new combat system introduces a new Attribute, called Speed, which determines how quickly and how often a character can act in combat.  In this system combat is broken into 5 second rounds.  Each round is then broken into 5, 1 second sections called moments.  Combat begins by each participate in the combat rolling a d6 for each rank in Speed they have.  The d6 rolls for each participant are summed together and the characters are listed on a sheet of paper in order from highest to lowest.  This determines who is quickest to act at any given moment.  At the beginning of each round, each character then again rolls a d6 for each rank in Speed they have.  For every 3, 4 or 5 the player rolls their character can act once in that round.  For every 6 the player rolls their character can act twice in that round.  For example, a character with 4 ranks in speed that rolls a 6,5,2,1 could act 3 times in the first round.

Wow. This system definitely would seem to tip you over the tactics side of the fence. So much so, in fact, that it seems hopeless to me for your game to try to truly support your stated dramatic goal, if this is the way you're going to proceed. If this level of tactical detail is really what you want, go for it, but trust me, it's going to overshadow any other aspects of the game. And it seems like it would og down, even for the most hardcore of "realistic," tactics-modeling players. Myself, I couldn't get through your play example, I mean all that stuff is merely one round of combat. Definitely not to my taste.

One question, you said initially you searched for a satisfying superhero game and didn't find any you liked. What games DID you try, and why were they inadequate? That's probably help you figure out what you DO want out of your own game.

Anyway, hope this helps. I'll shut up now and let Eero come in and say it all three times better. ;)

Peace,
Logged

Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2591


WWW
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2006, 05:30:25 AM »

Joel: good stuff, but let's not take up conflict resolution and all that stuff now. I think there's plenty to discuss without going into theory. Also, it seems to me that Superheroes has the basics of conflict resolution down good enough at this stage.

As for the publishing stuff: I suggest that Ian should start a new thread on the "Publishing" forum if he wants to get into that. We can suggest a bunch of things about that, but this is not really the place. Let's focus on the design side, instead. Really, font choice (which is fine, by the way) won't save or fail his game as far as design is concerned!

I'll pull a quote here, just to emphasize something:
Quote from: Melingor
One question, you said initially you searched for a satisfying superhero game and didn't find any you liked. What games DID you try, and why were they inadequate? That's probably help you figure out what you DO want out of your own game.
Yes, I want to know this one, too. Especially whether Ian's had experience with Champions (or Hero System in general), which is pretty much the backbone of the genre in rpgs.

Meanwhile, Ian: I skimmed the Superheroes rules, and... well... this won't be very constructive, but I'll give you my impressions anyway. The point is, perhaps I should pull out of this particular discussion after this; otherwise there's the very real danger of the thread drifting into "Eero tells everybody how they should design a game". Sometimes it just doesn't pay to insist on dialogue.

The good: The game seems pretty complete and well thought out. Definitely ready for independent playtest. You didn't exaggerate when you said that you're serious about this. Start that thread in Publishing, and we can discuss ways to capitalize on the game.

The bad: As far as I can see, the game is little more than Champions-lite design-wise. I'm pretty sure based on my gaming experience that actual play will resemble the basic Champions-M&M-Tristat fare more than a little. This being: careful chargen (to make sure your character can hack it), constrained story possibilities (as the GM duties are heavy enough without having to generate villains etc. in the middle of the game) and heavy combat focus (as that's where the interesting rules interactions are). I don't expect to see strong thematic play along the lines of superhero comics so much as a GM struggling to keep the game within the genre while the players pretty much capitalize on the aesthetics to procure a fast win over any obstacles the GM cares to set. (Again: being like Champions is cool. Playing D&D superheroes is fun. But there's also plenty of games that do it well, so you better be ready for stiff competition.)

The ugly: I wouldn't want to play the game, really. Starting from the top, my attention starts to flag in the "Character types" section, which as far as I can see is a clumsy effort at categorizing superheroes based on their power sources, but for no discernible reason. Around page fifteen it's pretty clear that as a player I will have no chance to make a meaningful contribution to the contents of play; the best I can do is get a chuckle out of playing a "valley girl nerd" (my favourite character type by far). I could go on, but my point is that while I can see a tiny niche for the game in my play profile somewhere below Champions, it's pretty unlikely that I'd settle on this instead of the aforementioned; Champions is really good at what it does, and while it's a tad more complex than Superheroes, well, complexity is a good thing in this kind of game! If I don't want complexity, chances are I won't want tactical combat, either. If I don't want tactical combat, I settle for one of the superhero games I mentioned earlier. Even if I wanted tactics... hmm, I guess I'd pick Mutants & Masterminds, which has roughly the same complexity in it's chargen as Superheroes, with the added benefit of being d20.

So: my take is that you should think long and hard on what kind of enjoyment you're offering for the player, as opposed to the GM. (GMs are notoriously good at entertaining themselves with prima donna behaviour and being blinded by their own brilliance, so I wouldn't worry about them so much.) Clearly this has something to do with winning the fights with good tactics, as that's mainly where the player choices seem to count. But I fail to see how the game ensures that there's good fights to be had! The following questions are left completely unanswered:
- When the fight starts? Can the GM just decide that there's no fights this session? Do the players have any choice in the matter?
- How the situation is driven towards fights? Fighting is a staple of the superhero genre, so perhaps the players and the GM know how to get there. Perhaps.
- How to ensure that the scenery is tactically interesting? By which I mean: it's not that trivial to think up good places to place civilians, collapsible structures, breakable and non-breakable walls and all that stuff. How do you expect that the GM does a good job of this?
- Will the power levels be fair? No idea; one of the main reasons I'd pick Mutants & Masterminds, which has something resembling a challenge meter.
- Will the opponent tactics be entertaining? It's an enormous job to figure out a suitable force composition for a villain team, for instance. Take the first appearance of Marauders in X-Men sometime in the eighties, for instance, if you remember that; those aesthetics of combat against the Morlocks and the X-Men didn't exactly come out of thin air! Add the trouble of putting statistics to it all to the mix, and you're looking at literally hours and hours of GM preparation, with no way to ensure that it'll work in practice.
- Will the players have leeway in their goals? Considering the fictional situation leading into the fight, how to ensure that the players have several, possibly conflicting goals for the fight, and success or failure on those goals will have real repercussions? Setting up a fight is easy, but making sure it has stakes that are fictionally relevant is a tad trickier.
- Will the fighting mechanics be entertaining? They might be, but I can't tell right off. For all I know they might be too heavy to play comfortably, or too light to offer any options, or, worst of all and suprisingly common in rpg design, both too heavy and with too few choices.

To repeat something that's been up in the air for a while: I really think you should take a loot at some other games, to compare your solutions to what others are doing. That's simply the best way to make sure your work is at all relevant to the field in general. Especially, the games that I think you really, really should know:
- Champions, simply because it's the grand-daddy of the game type you're making here.
- Sorcerer, because it's designed by a long-time Champions player who felt that the game lacked proper tools for bringing theme and drama into the mix.
- With Great Power, because it deals with the themes of power, secret identities and all that stuff very efficiently, with tools made for the purpose. The polar opposite of Champions if you will, and a game I think you'd like very much if you gave it a shot.
- Capes, because it's very competitive between players, completely faithful to the superhero genre, very dramatic, and has no GM at all.

Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Mark Johnson
Member

Posts: 238


WWW
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2006, 07:09:02 AM »

PSA:

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/03/18/marvel_comics_steali.html

"Marvel Comics is continuing in its bid to steal the word "super-hero" from the public domain and put it in a lock-box to which it will control the key. Marvel and DC comics jointly filed a trademark on the word "super-hero." They use this mark to legally harass indie comic companies that make competing comic books."
Logged

Elishar
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2006, 12:24:49 PM »

Alright, looks like I have some work to do.

On a side note, do you think that I should keep my Armageddon setting just an offshoot of this game or is it original and interesting enough that I should make it my main focus to differentiate it from the other pack of superhero type games.  As far as I know there arenít any other superhero games that have demonic possession as a cause for superpowers.  I also really like the idea because the character is constantly trying to balance using their powers for good while not using them too much that they become evil.
Logged
Eric Bennett
Member

Posts: 43


WWW
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2006, 01:37:48 PM »

Elishar,

I would say that if you keep nothing else, make it the Armageddon setting. The idea of superpowers as the result of demonic possession and having to keep a balance there is very appealing, at least to me. It takes the familiar and casts it in a new (and interesting) light.

Logged

http://mythos.pbwiki.com
Check out the developing draft of Mythos, the game of horrific discovery here!
Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2006, 02:35:42 PM »

Yes, focus on the Armageddon setting.

I was beginning to take a deeper look at your game, but is seems like everything I could say have bees said.

If you want to change the system, a good starting point is to write down the important conflict in the game. It could be something like:

* Your duty as a superhero contra your duty to your friends and family.
* Try to keep up popularity, and still do your job properly.
* Use demonic power in the service of good, but risk succumb to evil.
* etc.

And from there you can slowly try to build mechanic the support these ideas.

 - Anders
Logged

Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2591


WWW
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2006, 03:11:43 PM »

Well, I don't want to muddle the concensus here, but it seems you're all willing to throw away an awful lot of solid design work ;)

First, in case it's unclear to somebody - a game can have all those power lists, special combat rules and all that, and still cater to drama. There are ample examples, of which I only mention Sorcerer and The Riddle of Steel. So let's not get carried away and assume that all this design is for naught.

Also, if I were the designer, I would think long and hard on the goals of my design. It wouldn't be the first time I'd written a hundred pages of a game, realized that it doesn't do what I want it to, and then found out that it does something else perfectly well. The point: while the game as it is indeed doesn't do a very good job in the thematic department (IMO and all that), who's to say that it's not a kernel for a really good game of grim tactical superhero combat? It's not like that market is full or anything, even the best examples like Champions have dire lacks in the tactical part, not to speak of breaking genre all the time. I can totally see how I'd design a game with all those power lists, danger of death and so on.

So that's my bid to slow things down. I know how hard it is when your game gets completely stymied: my biggest design ever was a 300 page game that pretty much does everything Heroquest does, but based on d20 and better. It was totally superceded on the market when Clinton R. Nixon published his Shadow of Yesterday. While my game does maybe 10% of the stuff better than TSOY, I pretty much lost all my motivation to finish my mammoth project after reading Clinton's game, and still don't know what to do with it. So I know that making massive changes in a project that's almost published is not easy, and shouldn't be done without thought.

As for Armageddon: I don't know, apparently I'm a minority, but I wouldn't be that excited about the campaign setting. The ideas in it are solid, but you have to understand that the fiction material and ideas regarding that are something roleplayers come up with easily, especially with good rules. So pretty much the only reason to give attention to the setting is if you have rules that tie specifically into that, or if it's something with genuine literary value. It's quite possible to make a game out of Armageddon, make no mistake - but as Anders says, it should be a game specifically about that setting, not a generic superhero game with the setting tied in.

You should also know that the basic premise of Armageddon, corruption vs. power, is done very, very well by that old favourite, Sorcerer. So well, in fact, that I can see it much easier as a Sorcerer mini-supplement than a game of it's own. Perhaps you should write a Sorcerer mini-supplement, Ron offers very good terms on those ;)
Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!