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View Full Version : S.U.P.E.R.B.! - Or trying to build a fun and simple Superhero RPG



redzimmer
2018-03-16, 02:59 PM
If you are like me, you have pretended to be Batman since you were five. As I grew, I tried again and again to find a Superhero RPG that was easy, immersive, and easy. (I wrote that twice on purpose)

I have had no luck. Palladium daunts me, Marvel's RPG license changes hands far too often, and Masks wants me to buy 50+ books.

So, because I have much more important things to do than try to create a new roleplaying game system, I have decided to create a new Superhero roleplaying game system by myself.


S.U.P.E.R.B.!

Based entirely of me once making a new acronym for Shazam (long story), I came up with the idea of six stats, a simple d20-esque method of resolving any or all issues in a game, and all whole lost of nothing else yet.

So I am just going to periodically dump game system ideas here for your general perusal and evaluation, and maybe one day playtest it as it evolves on the GiTP boards.

With my nascent stats acronym (not at ALL similar for Bethesda's S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats) I go forth.

Strong For determining how powerful your heroic muscles (or lack thereof) are. Do you even lift?
Undaunted To see how strong your will is. Are you a weak-willed fool, or a Man Without Fear?
Precise What kind of mind do you have? Are you a living computer, or a semi-functioning limbic beast?
Enduring The measure of resilience of body. Are you made of stone, or do they call you Mr. Glass?
Responsive Physical response time is check here. Are you quick enough to run between raindrop, or are you a lumbering oaf?
Beautiful This decides the charms you have, be they physical or cerebral. Are you pretty but dumb, or can you charm the pants off the Pope?


And each challenge that faces a S.U.P.E.R.B. Hero can be resolved by polling a number that corresponds to one of those stats.

What you need:

1. A creative mind.
2. A GM who can stretch credibility and suspend disbelief.
3. PCs who are more concerned with fun than fiat.
4. Dice and paper, also pencils.

More as it comes to me.

redzimmer
2018-03-16, 05:41 PM
This is an early attempt at creating a simple game system. I will keep it here for future reference.


Character Creation

WORK IN PROGRESS

You have to start somewhere, so I started here.

What you need to determine:

Crunch

Stats

WORK IN PROGRESS

For this, instead of the d20 method 10 being average and 0-20 being better or worse, I've decided to make 1-2 average, and the number beyond as exception, extraordinary, super-human and god-like in their escalation.
You can roll 1d20, 2d10, 5d4 or whatever randomizer to get a 1-20 score. If you have the idea for your character you can input it manually.

S is for Strong


Score
Modifier
Example


1-2
0



3-4
+1



5-6
+2



7-8
+3



9-10
+4



11-12
+5



13-14
+6



15-16
+7



17-18
+8



19-20
+9



U is for Undaunted


Score
Modifier
Example


1-2
0



3-4
+1



5-6
+2



7-8
+3



9-10
+4



11-12
+5



13-14
+6



15-16
+7



17-18
+8



19-20
+9



P is for Precise


Score
Modifier
Example


1-2
0



3-4
+1



5-6
+2



7-8
+3



9-10
+4



11-12
+5



13-14
+6



15-16
+7



17-18
+8



19-20
+9



E is for Enduring


Score
Modifier
Example


1-2
0



3-4
+1



5-6
+2



7-8
+3



9-10
+4



11-12
+5



13-14
+6



15-16
+7



17-18
+8



19-20
+9



R is for Responsive


Score
Modifier
Example


1-2
0



3-4
+1



5-6
+2



7-8
+3



9-10
+4



11-12
+5



13-14
+6



15-16
+7



17-18
+8



19-20
+9



B is for Beautiful


Score
Modifier
Example


1-2
0



3-4
+1



5-6
+2



7-8
+3



9-10
+4



11-12
+5



13-14
+6



15-16
+7



17-18
+8



19-20
+9




Race

There might be more to add, but to keep it simple, start with these:

Human. The most common race of superhero.
Alien. Not from around these parts, either a different planet (i.e. a humanoid from outer space), alternate dimension (i.e. an alternate Earth where dinosaurs evolved into the dominant species), plane of existence (i.e. devils or angels) or anything else not of this earth.
Evolved human. Because you can't say "Mutant" without a big, angry Mouse Lawyer breathing down your neck.
Mutated Animal or Plant. Like an Immature Radioactive Samurai Slug. Or a Swamp Thing. Or a Man-Thing. Oe something.
Augmented Human. Like a cyborg or a brain in a jar.
Sentient Machine. The whole gamut from a living computer to a Robot who wants to be human.
Mythological Being. You're Hades. Or Gilgamesh. Or Glooscap. One of Joseph Campbell's Heroes with a Thousand Faces (also conveniently, Public Domain).

Heroic Archetype (aka class)

This can get bloated quickly, so to keep it simple I've got these basics:

WORK IN PROGRESS

Alien. Your race is also your powers. What's normal to you is amazing to humans. You might be a vanguard for an upcoming invasion, an exile from your homeworld, a curious astronaut, or the LAST OF YOUR KIND. You usually have superhuman abilities, magic, psychic powers, or superior technology.
Tech Hero. Some sort of super suit or gear. Or both. Or perhaps you are a time-traveler, whose suitably-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Otherwise just a normal squishy human.
Exceptional Individual. Through training, prayers and vitamins, you have achieved the peak of human capabilities. You might be a master martial artist, Super genius, or the World's Greatest Detective.
Augmented Human. The Race is the power again. You might have brain implants that make you a psychic battery, 6 million dollars worth of cybernetics, or a special tonic that makes you really flexible. Or perhaps Someone has placed your brain into the body of an ape. The possibilities are endless.
Magic. Be it a magic spellbook, the robe Jesus wore before being crucified, prayers to an extra-dimensional octopus, or the blood of dragons, you have powers that cannot be measured by science. There is always drawbacks, just to keep it balanced.
Evolved or Augmented Human. You were born with laser eyes. You were exposed to cosmic rays. You fell into a vat of chemicals. You were the prototype of a Super Soldier program. Whatever the source, you are now more than human.
Mutated Animal or Plant. You were a simple sting-ray until pollutants dumped into the ocean turned you into... Ray Stinger! Or so forth.
Artifical Being. You are a desktop OS that became self-aware. Or a servant robot who asked his creator to equip him with an arm cannon to help him defeat his rival's robot masters. Or a million nano-bots with a hivemind. Whatever you are, were built, not born.

Fluff

Origin: What dead planet, chemical accident, amoral experiment, above-average intellect, ancestral sword, recessive gene, or vast wealth made you what you are today?
Motivation: Why are you traipsing about in spandex at midnight? Did your parents get murdered before your eyes? Does the voice in you amulet compel you? Do you have great responsibility?
Personality: Are you a brooding loner, stoic champion of the weak, genius asshat, or peppy mutant hamster?
Morality: Are you a hero, a villain, an anti-villain, an anti-hero? This spectrum would be along the lines of Good, Evil, Lawful Stupid or Selfish Jerkass.

redzimmer
2018-03-16, 10:28 PM
Here is the first go at character creation. All due credit to brian 333 and aimlessPolymath:



The intent of this game is to create a very simple set of rules to administer and play a game of comic-book hero fantasy. Since comic book heroes range from ordinary humans to world-devouring super beings, the ruleset must be flexible, but players and administrators alike must keep in mind that weaker heroes face opponents of more or less equivalent power while even superheroes can be challenged.

Thus players should not expect to face Apocalypse unless their character is of equivalent power, and Administrators should not create adventures suitable for Robin for player characters of Superman's stature.



Player Characters are heroic in some fashion. Perhaps they are ordinary humans with some technology that makes them superior, such as Iron Man or Venom, or perhaps they wield innate super powers, but these characters are special in some way.

Most have some vulnerability, the severity of which tends to scale with their power such as Batman's dependence upon preparation and having what he needs in his utility belt or Superman being paralyzed in the presence of kryptonite.

The same applies to the villains these heroes encounter, though perhaps less so to their henchmen. Players should ultimately expect to face characters which challenge their character, exploit their character's weakness, and manipulate the situation to their advantage, and the player should be ready to do the same.



The Administrator builds the adventure, and is therefore responsible for establishing the Power Ranking of the characters. This is important because a challenge for The Hulk would be impossible for Nightwing to defeat in combat. Both characters are heroic, but they fight on vastly different scales.

The Power Ranks are listed below, from weakest to most powerful:
Weakling (Shaggy from Scooby Doo)
Human (Tony Stark from Iron Man)
Extraordinary Human (Robin from Batman)
Hero (Storm from X-Men)
Super Hero (Super Man)

When creating the character both Player and Administrator must keep the Power Ranking in mind. Certain abilities, such as the ability to fly, might be Hero Rank powers. For example, Tony Stark cannot fly without an Iron Man suit, Robin can glide or parachute using his cape, but Storm can fly at will. Players should design their characters with this in mind and collaborate with the Administrator to insure the character ultimately conforms to the established Power Ranking of the adventure.



In this phase of the character creation process the player creates the background for the character, explaining the origin of the character's powers, motivations, and vulnerabilities.The murder of Batman's parents motivated him to become a crime solver, while Superman's birth on Krypton explains his powers and vulnerability to Kryptonite.

Keep in mind that many comic-book heroes have multiple origin stories, such as the several Green Lanterns. Revisions at a later time can simply be retconned and assumed to have always been or they can come as dramatic in character reveals, such as **** Grayson's discovery that his parent's 'accident' was the result of Batman failing to prevent their murder.



In this phase the player declares the powers of the character in collaboration with the Administrator. Keep in mind that some powers easily scale while others are innately very powerful or very weak. Laser Beam Eyes might scale from laser pointer to orbital bombardment laser, while Flatulent Cloud Emission is subject to airflow and wind direction. Both player and Administrator should be prepared to compromise.

Keep in mind that many super heroes grow in power as they go from adventure to adventure, such as the ever-increasing power of the Iron Man suit, so a power rejected in this phase as too powerful might be 'discovered' as the character grows.

Some examples by Power Ranking:
Weakling = Jubilee from X-Men Cartoon. Weakling powers are mostly comic relief, but occasionally can be quite powerful in their result. Imagine Jubilee touching Iron Man...
Human = The Joker from Batman. Human level powers tend to be ordinary abilities taken to an extreme such as The Joker's diabolical genius.
Extraordinary Human = Green Arrow. Extraordinary powers are beyond typical human capacity, but do not require exotic origins. Green Arrow's precision is augmented with a variety of technologies, but do not require his having been born on Arrowtron.
Hero = Cyclops. Heroic powers are powerful, but very often thematic or limited in versatility. When Cyclops takes off his glasses something explodes, which pretty much limits his usefulness to battlefields. More generic heroic powers may be versatile but less lowerful, such as Mr. Fantastic's elasticity.
Superhero = The Incredible Hulk. Virtually impossible to injure and capable of inflicting massive damage, such beings are only limited by their vulnerabilities, such as The Hulk's need to find a place to rest after his rage abates. (For some reason this always seems to be where it's raining.)

Characters with multiple powers may be too powerful for the Power Ranking of the campaign, and players should expect that the capacity of such powers will be reduced, or that the Administrator will limit the number of powers a character can have. The Swiss Army Knife character should expect to sacrifice power for versatility, but Administrators should consider allowing characters with focused thematic abilities which have limited usefulness to maximize that one power.



Comic-book heroes tend to be vulnerable to something, and the more powerful characters have more debilitating vulnerabilities. The Human ranked Indiana Jones hates snakes, but they have no effect other than to squick him out, while Superman, exposed to kryptonite, becomes helpless. Defining the weakness(es) of characters should be thematically linked, such as Batman's dependency on his Utility Belt, and they should scale with the Power Ranking of the character.

Administrators should reward players who devise weaknesses which might plausibly come into play. Achilles having a vulnerability directly related to his greatest power, (minor scratch on his heel kills him, but the rest of his body cannot be pierced,) is an example of linking vulnerability and strength.

Obscure or inconsequential weaknesses should be rejected or modified. Peanut Allergy might be an appropriate vulnerability for a Weakling, but would not serve as a vulnerability for The Hulk, (and would have no thematic link anyway.) A vulnerability which disables a hero in the presence of the Mona Lisa would be difficult to invoke unless the hero only fights Art Thief, who regularly targets The Louvre. In general, the vulnerabilities of characters should be as powerful as their power.

It is expected that the character will attempt to conceal vulnerabilities.



In this stage the Administrator is responsible for setting the limits of the character's powers. The primary goal is to help the player's character conform to the adventure's Power Ranking. In this it is important for the Administrator to uphold the spirit of the player's intent, so the player gets, in the end, the character she imagined.

Some powers are easily scaleable such as Laser Beam Eyes. The Administrator coulr rule that Weaklings with Laser Beam Eyes are the equivalent of laser pointers, Humans have Flaslight eyes, Extraordinary Humans could boil water or remove tattoos, Heroes burn holes in things and Super Heroes vaporize whatever they can see. Some powers such as Thunder Punch might have a minimum Power Ranking, such that only Heroes could manifest them.

In this the Administrator is aided by Character Abilities. Abilities define the powers in terms of game mechanics, and are used to determine success or failure of the intended use. In determining the Power Ranking of the acventure, the Administrator must dictate the Power Ranking of each of the six Abilities, from Weakling to Super Hero. Adventures which have higher Power Ranking should allow multiple Heroic or Super Heroic Abilities, while lower Power Ranking adventures would require limits on such abilities. Characters which are extremely focused and self limited by their choice of powers or vulnerabilities should be rewarded with one or two Abilities exceeding the campaign norm, while characters which can do everything should be similarly limited by reducing the highest Power Ranking Abilities.

For Example, suppose Laser Lad has only Laser Vision. The Administrator might reward him by upgrading his Precision Ability to the next higher Power Ranking due to his self-limiting choice of power. Meanwhile, General Girl can do everything every comic-book hero can do. The Administrator would be justified in reducing the Abilities of the highest Power Ranking for this character.

Abilities are not physical attributes, but measures of the character's control of and resistance to Powers. Humans have very poor performance in those areas while Super Heroes have incredible performance. The scale ranges from 1 to 20.

1-2 = Weakling (1d2) equal to a small monkey
3-5 = Human (1d3+2) equal to a normal human
6-9 = Extraordinary Human (1d4+5) equal to the strength of a motor vehicle
10-14 = Hero (1d5+9) equal to the strength of a battleship
15-20 = Super Hero (1d6+14) equal to the strength of a Death Star

Note: Alternative means of deriving Ability Scores will be presented later.

The six Abilities are:
Strength - relative strength of the hero's Powers
Undaunted - ability to resist or exert mental control
Precision - ability to exert fine control in the use of the hero's Powers
Endurance - ability to resist physical injuries or to sustain activities over time
Reflex - ability to react to threats or avoid them
Beauty - ability to manipulate the public's perception of the hero

Note: Further explanation of and the use of Abilities will be discussed in Book 3.



In this phase the character generates not only a physical description of her character, but such things as aliases, secret identities, lairs, friends and family, and other details which turn the character from a set of stats and powers into a character. Obviously, wealth might be an issue for technology dependant characters, and Administrators may impose limits both for reasons of game balance and characterization. A character with a background of a train-hopping hobo won't have wealth, while a normal human with super-powered technologies require a lot simply to maintain their status as heroes.

While this phase is driven by the player, the Administrator should exert her authority to limit the choices players make for their characters. A character with infinite wealth might be an issue for an adventure, but the Administrator might consider tying that wealth to a trust fund which allows the character to maintain a secret laboratory, but not to buy every super-suit on the market.

Finally, at this point it may be necessary to review the Background of the character to incorporate changes from the original intent to the character as finalized. This is not intended as a retcon, but a clarification based on the ideas which emerged in the creation process.


***



Superheroes fight, eventually, and the rules presented here offer a means of quickly resolving attacks and adjudicating defenses. But heroes also attempt many things not directly related to combat, and using the same set of rules to resolve challenges of all kinds eliminates the need for seperate skills, powers, and combat rules.

Keep in mind that this system divides characters by tiers. It must be recognized that Super Heroes are vastly more powerful than Humans. It is intended to keep fights fair between characters of the same tier, but quickly skew the odds toward characters of higher tiers.



In this system every challenge uses one of the Ability scores, the Administrator dictating which one is most suitable, and adds to that the result of a single die. Which die is used is determined by the tier of the relevant Ability. (It might be wise to record the die appropriate to each Ability Score for quick reference.)

Weakling tier Abilities add 1d4
Human tier Abilities add 1d6
Extraordinary tier Abilities add 1d8
Hero tier Abilities add 1d10
Superhero tier Abilities add 1d12



When a character uses a power against an inanimate or unresisting target the Administrator determines the Difficulty of the task. When assigning Difficulty, the Administrator must consider the tier of power the intended target requires.
Weakling tier challenge would be a Difficulty of 4.
Human tier challenge would be Difficulty 7
Extraordinary tier challenges are Difficulty 13
Hero tier challenges are Difficulty 21
Superhero tier challenges are Difficulty 26

These are average for difficult tasks at each tier; the average character of that tier will fail 50% of such attempts. The Administrator must compare the difficulty of the intended tasks by the scale as presented in 1-1, and adjust for the intended Difficulty. As an example, using a Power at Weakling tier is comparable to failing to lift 50 pounds/25 kilo on half of all attempts. At Human level this is closer to 200 pounds/100 kilos. Extraordinary humans pull freight cars. Heroes pull freight trains against their will, and Superheroes hurl them into orbit. Well, 50% of the time, as these are considered to be right at the limits of what an Ability of the appropriate tier can accomplish.

Once the Administrator has declared the Difficulty of the intended task, the player rolls a single die, as discussed in 2-1, and adds the result to the character's relevant Ability Score. If this total equals or exceeds the Difficulty the task suceeds. The consequences of failure are situational. Your character may trip alarms, alert bystanders, or the act may be inconsequential, allowing multiple attempts.



When a character uses a power on a character which actively resists the act, the characters each make a roll for theit relevant Ability Score. The higher result succeeds, either shrugging off or deflecting the attack, or succeeding in the stated attempt.

A wise player seeks to maximize the advantage on offense and on defense, and will attempt to utilize the best Ability Score for every task. But in general, Strength-based attacks are contested by Endurance and Precision based attacks are countered by Reflex. Undaunted based attacks are defended using Undaunted, as Beauty similarly counters Beauty.

The Administrator sets the appropriate Attack and Defense in the case of players who disagree. In most cases it is obvious which Abilities are appropriate, but a player may suggest an alternative Ability Score is a more logical choice, and both players and Administrators should give such suggestions as much consideration as they deserve.

Once the relevant Ability Scores are established, the players or the player and the Administrator in the case of NPCs, roll simultaneously. The higher total succeeds, the lower fails.



Success in an attack or defense dictates that something happened in a way that is favorable to the successful character. Exactly what is subject to the many potential Powers of the characters. When Spider Man succeeds the target gets bound up in webbing, for example, while success for The Hulk indicates something got smashed.

It is important in 1-3: Define The Powers that the Player and Administrator clearly describe the intent of the use of a Power. Does it attack the mind? The body? What happens when an attack succeeds must be considered in the character creation process. Then in 1-5: Adjudication of Powers these effects are detailed in terms of the Game Rules.

For example, Hulk's Power directly harms the opponent physically, while Spidey's webs immobilize the victim.

This narrative result is further reflected in two possible outcomes: Injury and Overwhelm.



Unless a Power is stated to have some other effect, the usual result of a successful Attack is an Injury to the Ability Score used to defend against the Attack. If the defender succeeds, that attack has no effect. An Injury temporarily reduces the affected Ability. Accumulating Injuries until the Ability Score reaches zero reduces the effectiveness of the injured Ability Score, so that later rolls use the Injured score, but the character continues to roll the same die no matter the degree of injury.

Some Attacks will always result in Injury to a particular Ability, no matter which Defense the character used. Guns, for example, use Precision to Attack, Reflex to Defend, but inflict Endurance Injuries. This is established in 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers.

A player may also attempt an uncommon use of the character's Powers to gain more favorable Attacks or Defenses, presenting different Abilities to support the effort. The Admin should be prepared to intervene either to allow or disallow such use, but should also be prepared to stand aside and allow players who are in agreement on which Ability Injures which to hash it out. In the case of NPCs, the Administrator should have established the effects of a successful use of a Power, and except for fun or humor, should not innovate on the fly.



Some attacks are simply Overwhelming to the victim. When an Attack Roll exceeds the Defense Roll by two times or more, the Attack is considered Overwhelming, and the Defender's relevant Ability Score is temporarily reduced to zero. This most often occurs when characters of different tiers fight, but can also result from injuries.

As an example, The Flash can run through a room filled with Humans and tie them all up. The humans are considered Overwhelmed, with their Reflex Ability temporarily reduced to zero. If The Flash attempted the same against Wonder Woman she would have a much higher Reflex Ability Score, and The Flash would be far lesss likely to succeed in Overwhelming her.



An Injury reduces an Ability Score by one for each Successful Attack, or to zero in the case of Overwhelming Injuries. The Ability Score uses the new value until it is further damaged or until it is restored. (Healing is detailed in Book 3.) Each Ability produces different results when weakened by Injuries. No matter how severe the Injury, a character always rolls the die appropriate to the tier of the relevant Ability, so a Superhero tier Ability always uses a d12 while a Weakling tier Ability always uses a d4, no matter its current temporary value.

Strength = Reduced capability with use of Powers. While some Powers scale, such as physical strength, others may require a minimum Strength Score to use. For example, the Admin may set the minimum Strength required to fly at 7, which is the minimum score for an Extraordinary Power. Dropping below this Strength score would render the character incapable of flight until the Strength Score is restored to 7 or more. This should be Adjudicated in 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers, so the player is aware of such limitations and can act appropriately.

(Optionally, if the character begins play as a novice hero, such limits can be 'discovered' through gameplay, but this does not relieve the Administrator of the obligation to Adjudicate the requirements for use of a particular Power.)

When a character reaches zero Strength, the character may not actively use Powers and is considered Fatigued.

Undaunted = Reduced mental capacity. Attacks which affect the mind or spirit render the character confused and disoriented. As with Strength, some Mental Powers have the ability to easily scale, while others may have minimum requirements to use. Again, 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers should clarify such issues. A character with a Power to cloud minds to avoid being seen might become visible when her Undaunted Ability drops below 5, for example.

When a character reaches zero Undaunted, the character may not actively use mind Powers, and is considered unconscious.

Precision = Reduced control of Powers. Attacks which require aiming or fine control in their use become less efficient. Some Powers may require a minimum degree of Precision to execute. For example, Superman can crush coal to produce diamonds, but this requires a degree of Precision to avoid reducing the coal to carbon vapor. Attempts below that degree of Precision result in something other than diamonds.

When Precision is reduced to zero the character is no longer in control of Powers. If a Power can be used in a brute force method this might have an insignificant impact, but any attempt to exert any control over the use of the Power will fail. Whether this produces a null result or a disaster is highly dependent upon the Power in question and how it is adjudicated.

Endurance = Reduced capacity to withstand physical attacks. Attacks which directly impact the body or Aura Of Power affect Endurance, and reduced Endurance results in less capacity to deflect or shrug off physical attacks.

When Injuries temporarily reduce the character's Endurance to zero, the character is incapable of any physical action more demanding than crawling under cover or writhing in pain.

Reflex = Reduced capacity to anticipate and avoid attacks. Attacks which can be dodged become more difficult to avoid as the Reflex Ability is reduced. Attempting but failing to dodge such an attack affects the Reflex Ability. An example of this is the cumulative effect of being entangled in Spider Man's webbing.

When Injuries temporarily reduce the character's Reflex Ability to zero, the character is immobilized.

Beauty = Reduced capability of gaining aid from the public. Sometimes the best way to beat a hero is to defame or humiliate the hero. Attacks which affect the credibility or popularity of a character may temporarily reduce Beauty, and thus weaken the character's standing in the society.

Characters reduced to zero Beauty are treated as untrustworthy, their every utterance treated as lies, their motives always attributed to malicious intent by the general public. Police and/or military forces will be given capture or kill orders regarding such characters, and they will be considered wanted criminals.



When an Ability is temporarily reduced to zero, the fight may not be over. Even at zero, the defender continues to be entitled to the roll of the relevant die for the affected ability, even though attacks using that ability are no longer allowed. However, Injuries cannot reduce Abilities, even temporarily, below zero. In such cases the most logical ability which is above zero is affected. This may result in the affected character being quickly Overwhelmed due to her lack of anything to add to the die roll used to resist the attack.

Absent any logical 'next' Ability to affect, Strength is typically affected. For example, Ghost Rider, in confronting a character with his own evil, reduces the character to an Undaunted score of zero. Should he continue his attack beyond rendering the character unconscious, the character's Strength is the next most logical Ability to be affected, thus reducing or eliminating her ability to lash out with a Power in an unconscious attack.

When a character reaches zero in any three abilities the character is comatose and can no longer act either offensively or defesively. Even Beauty, which some players will argue has no physical effect, takes a psychic toll on the character, reducing her will to continue resisting.



In order to present a simple, flexible ruleset for resolving conflict, it is necessary to avoid complex situational rules or the creation of combat tables with exceptions and multiple bonuses which are situationally applied. Using the system as presented will allow fast and easy calculations of Difficulties and Challenges, but there are inevitably going to be situations which seem to defy the rules.

Rather than construct additional rules to cover the exceptions, the Rule Of Logic should seek a solution within the ruleset to quickly resolve the issue. If it is an issue which re-occurs then consideration might be given to introducing a house rule to cover the situation. However, the Rule Of Fun should be applied to allow things which have entertainment value or to eliminate things which produce arguments or confusion. Between the extremes there is a vast middle ground, and players and Administrators should seek that middle ground to quickly resolve issues which arise to which no exact rule applies.



During a Combat Round, the character with the highest Reflex Ability goes first, and may take an action or hold actions until the character chooses to act. Tied Reflex Scores allow rolling a challenge, (Reflex vs. Reflex.) If the die roll also results in a tie, the characters act simultaneously, and both apply Injuries at the same time, at the end of their actions.

Thereafter, each character is entitled to an action taken in the order their respective Reflex Ability Score dictates.

A character whose action is to hold acting may choose to act at the end of a round, or may continue to hold into the following round, thereby gaining the advantage of interrupting the round at will to take the held action when desired. Some Powers maybe linked to hold actions, such as Goku's use of his Spirit Bomb Power, which requires many rounds to fully power up.

If two characters choose to simultaneously declare their held actions, a Reflex Challenge resolves the issue of who goes first. Of course, the winner of the challenge may choose to go second, and may continue to hold her action until then. As above, identical results on the reflex roll indicate that both characters act simultaneously, and any injuries are inflicted simultaneously at the end of the action.

Once every character has had an opportunity to act and all related issues are resolved, the next round may begin. Exactly what a character can do in a round is largely dictated by the character's Power and the tier of its relevant Ability. Using 'Super Speed' as an example, a character with Weakling tier Ability is likely to go last every round. A Human would be able to fire a gun once. An Extraordinary Human tier Ability might disarm a shooter before he can fire the weapon. A Hero might be able to remove the bullets from the gun before it is fired, and a Superhero is likely able to remove all the bullets from everyone's gun in a single action.

When creating the character, part of 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers is to describe the extent of what can be done in a single action.

***

redzimmer
2018-03-17, 12:24 AM
Placeholder for subsequent game mechanics

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-17, 03:17 AM
Powers, and Types of Challenges

What would daunt a hero like Green Arrow would not even register as a threat for Thor.

Given that Hawkeye and Thor are in the Avengers together, I'm very interested in hearing how you handle this.

redzimmer
2018-03-17, 08:42 AM
Given that Hawkeye and Thor are in the Avengers together, I'm very interested in hearing how you handle this.

Itís a struggle to word correctly. More to come.

XionUnborn01
2018-03-17, 01:24 PM
Given that Hawkeye and Thor are in the Avengers together, I'm very interested in hearing how you handle this.

Pretty easy. You don't see Hawkeye trying to go toe to toe with it Ultron because he wouldn't have a chance. Hawkeye handles surveillance, scouting, overwatch, and smaller threats like individual goons. Thor punches big guys.

redzimmer
2018-03-17, 02:03 PM
Pretty easy. You don't see Hawkeye trying to go toe to toe with it Ultron because he wouldn't have a chance. Hawkeye handles surveillance, scouting, overwatch, and smaller threats like individual goons. Thor punches big guys.

And infiltration is not the Hulkís specialty.

brian 333
2018-03-17, 04:23 PM
Your stats run from 1-20. What stats do normal humans have?

Suppose my hero is Joe Average who works at the Comic Book Store. What would his stats be? (His power is knowing all the powers and weaknesses of the other heroes. His weapon is The Endless Versus Argument with which he can immobilize friend and foe alike.)

redzimmer
2018-03-17, 06:27 PM
Pondering that myself. Either 1-2 is the base human, or 10 the average and plus/minus that up to 1 or 19.

Contradicts what Iíve said already of course. It will resolve with time Iím sure.

brian 333
2018-03-17, 07:47 PM
Suggestion:

0 = unmeasureable or insignicant value, such as capuchin monkey strength or heavy metal rocker intelligence
1 = very low value such as canine intelligence or blue whale dexterity
2 = low value such as teenager wisdom or geriatric constitution
3 = below average human
4 = average human
5 = above average human
6 = high value such as gorilla strength or cirque de solil performer dexterity

8 = supercomputer intelligence or automobile strength

10 = tractor strength

15 = battleship strength

20 = dropkicks planets

The idea is to create a curve tbat allows a lot of gradation at low levels with larger and larger jumps at the upper end of the scale.

redzimmer
2018-03-17, 07:57 PM
Suggestion:

0 = unmeasureable or insignicant value, such as capuchin monkey strength or heavy metal rocker intelligence
1 = very low value such as canine intelligence or blue whale dexterity
2 = low value such as teenager wisdom or geriatric constitution
3 = below average human
4 = average human
5 = above average human
6 = high value such as gorilla strength or cirque de solil performer dexterity

8 = supercomputer intelligence or automobile strength

10 = tractor strength

15 = battleship strength

20 = dropkicks planets

The idea is to create a curve tbat allows a lot of gradation at low levels with larger and larger jumps at the upper end of the scale.

Yes, just the sort of thing I am looking for. Thank you. In my zeal to make things simple I tend to complicate things.

jqavins
2018-03-17, 11:36 PM
Your lists of races and archetypes have a lot of overlap. I suggest eliminating the races list, as any time a character's race matters it's covered by the archeype.

Also, you wrote "Archetype (aka class)" but it's really not class. It's origin of powers, where class is about a character's role in a party or world. Sure, those are related, like in the case of a D&D character who's role is to use divine magic and who gets that ability from divine sources. But they're really not the same thing. D&D fighters and rougues, for example would both fall under Exceptional Individual. Archetype is a good starting point in making a character, but it isn't class.

All the superhero systems I know about are classless.

redzimmer
2018-03-18, 09:48 AM
Your lists of races and archetypes have a lot of overlap. I suggest eliminating the races list, as any time a character's race matters it's covered by the archeype.

Also, you wrote "Archetype (aka class)" but it's really not class. It's origin of powers, where class is about a character's role in a party or world. Sure, those are related, like in the case of a D&D character who's role is to use divine magic and who gets that ability from divine sources. But they're really not the same thing. D&D fighters and rougues, for example would both fall under Exceptional Individual. Archetype is a good starting point in making a character, but it isn't class.

All the superhero systems I know about are classless.
And itís getting awfully close to ripping off Heroes Unlimted as well. I need to put a lot more work into it.

brian 333
2018-03-18, 03:11 PM
Lets go back a moment to the 'simple' idea. If what we want is simplicity, the character creation process should not involve exhaustive lists of enumerated powers, but instead be a flowchart of ideas.

Example Only!

Step 1: Backstory

Where does your guy come from? What are her goals? Who are her friends, or why doesn't she have any? Batman's parents provided his motives, Superman's distant origin explains his strength, (red suns or kryptonite? I'm still not sure...)

Brenda Tucker seemed like an ordinary girl until she went on a Kamp Kidz adventure, a weekend spent with nature and other kids. Nearby, a farmer who had gambled his family farm away, in an act of defiance to the casino who was evicting him in order to sell the property, burned down the house, barn, and farm equipment, and ignited a forest fire that ravaged the region, including the Kamp Kidz campground.

What could have proved tragic sparked a new hero into action! The children huddled helplessly as the fire trapped them, burning closer. A chance spark landed on Brenda and began to burn. Desperate, she stopped, dropped, and rolled, but the blaze only intensified!

Then Brenda realized, though engulfed in flames, she felt no pain. In fact, she could make the flames obey her! Her screaming friends reminded her of their danger, and she knew that she could help. With an act of will she commanded the flames to go out, and every last coal and ember within her sight was instantly extinguished, leaving her unharmed but wearing badly burned clothing.

Her ability to create, control, and extinguish flames has grown, but frightened the children around her. She learned to keep the secret, (mostly,) and moving to a new school a few times allowed her to form friendships. Of course, her original name is known, so she habitually uses aliases. She also wears non-flammable underwear to avoid repeating the embarrassment of her first experience.

Step 2: Define the powers

In this step the power(s) of the superhero is listed. Is she strong? Can she lift like an olympian? Can she lift a car? A train? A battleship? Set the limits of the character's power.

Brenda has discovered that she can control any flame she can see, and direct it to grow or extinguish with or without fuel. She can extinguish any flame within a mile of so even if she cannot see it, but she has never tried to see how much she can ignite.

Brenda can ignite flames from matchstick size up by will, such as the time she (accidentally) set Tommy Gardner's pants on fire when he was making goo-goo eyes at Suzie Bright.

Brenda can engulf herself in flames, and in this condition she can fly, but cannot achieve supersonic speeds without extinguishing her flames.

Step 3: Define Weaknesses

Is the character harmed by a particular item, like kryptonite? Is she a normal mortal without her suit of armor? Does she require someparticular element to use her power, such as Gambit's playing cards?

Brenda cannot control flames when she is wet. Throwing water on her while she is burning won't get her wet, but doing so before she ignites will prevent her from ignighting or controlling fire. (She never sweats, for some reason.) Immersion in water will extinguish her flames if she is engulfed at the time.

Otherwise she is an average to strong human, (she works out four days a week and does yoga.) She can burn up bullets before they strike her if she knows they are being fired, but if doing something else or simply doesn't see the gun, she can be shot, flames or not.

Step 4: Adjudicate powers

In this step the game master uses the rules to establish game parameters. Since the ruleset doesn't exist yet, I'll use D&D concepts in my example.

Brenda cannot use her powers in an unlimited fashion. She is restricted by power and frequency of use. In this case, I choose the sorcerer spells per day chart to determine how often and for how long she may control flames.

0 Level is 1 HP of fire damage or control about the same as a kitchen match for five minutes.
Level 1 is 1d4 / ten minutes. (Small butane torch)
Level 2 is 1d8 / twenty minutes (Campfire)
Level 3 is 2-4 d8 / forty minutes (Bonfire) This is the level at which she can self-immolate and fly
Level 4 is house fire / an hour and a half
Level 5 is a small warehouse or large appartment building / 3 hours
Level 6 is a large warehouse or small factory / 6 hours
Level 7 is a gasoline storage tank / 12 hours
Level 8 is a small chemical plant / a day
Level 9 is a 1 mile radius / permanent.

Extinguishing flames is far easier for her, but leaves her exhausted and unable to control fire until she has rested if she extinguishes fires too large for her ability. Treat Extinguish as one level lower than igniting fires of similar size.

While controlling fire she can create shapes and images limited only by her imagination, but undirected fires simply burn as the fuel and area allow.

Step 5: Description

In this step define appearance, costumery, aliases, and other information relevant to your hero's daily life.

Brenda Tucker is known to be the hero called Blaze by the media due to her much publicized origin story. Therefore, in daily life she has used several secret identities, the current one being Ember Burns, an Arson Investigator for City Mutual Insurance Company.

Her best friend is Sarah Swensen, a forensic crime scene investigator for City Police Department. Sarah knows her secret, but protects herself and her friend by keeping it. They share an appartment in The City which has a rooftop entrance Blaze can use to come and go annonymously.

Ember favors a black wig with bangs, black rimmed glasses, and careful application of makeup to conceal her nose and cheek freckles and her trademark short, touseled, orange hair which defies combing. She wears red short-shorts and halter top with matching booties beneath her street clothes in case she has to immolate herself, ruining her street clothes. These items are made of non-combustible material. When wearing open toe shoes the soft booties can be carried in her handbag.

Step 6: Begin Play


Note that this system allows the character creation process to be driven by the player as opposed to the rolling of dice. You may want more control as DM, making the creation process acollaboration, or you may be fine with the ability to adjudicate the powers in Step 4. You might want more random power generation, in which case you limit players to powers found on your tables. But the idea presented here is to allow the player to imagine the character first, then build it according to the rules you establish.

redzimmer
2018-03-18, 03:43 PM
I really appreciate the feedback and input.

Working together, a viable PbP heroes game can become a reality.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-18, 03:50 PM
Ooh, I really like that method of character generation.

If I could build on it a bit:
-I like the use of the SUPERB stats, or some variation, in determining how effective powers are, rather than necessarily a uses/day thing. Not all heroes have super strength, so not all of them really care about using Strength in their statline. Instead, perhaps Strength is how powerful the fire blasts are, Precise is how carefully they can be aimed to perform complex tasks (like a wall of fire to prevent escape, for example), Responsive is how easily they can be used to defend or attack (i.e. switching from one use to the other)... either Undaunted or Enduring is how much the ability can be used in some fashion, while the other is toughness? And maybe Beautiful represents how easily it inspires- whether someone reacts to the fire with "oh god I'm going to burn" or "thank god the heroes are here"? A sort of PR stat, which represents the difference between "stopping the bad guys" and "saving the day".

Rather than defining a strict spells/day system, repeated use of a power likely damages an ability score. If your power is to unleash the darkness hidden inside you, repeatedly using it will damage your Precision and/or Responsive, with a rate determined by your Enduring(?) score. Most people will lose Strength. Someone with a power that hurts themselves will lose Undaunted, and possibly Responsive if the damage makes it harder to use.

So:

Laser Beam Dude is fighting Telekinesis Lad, and shoots a laser beam at him. TK Lad attempts to deflect the laser beam with his floating rocks, so he rolls a Responsive check to begin defending. If he succeeds, he can check his Strength against LB Dude's Strength to stop him. If he fails, he takes it right to the gut, and rolls Undaunted vs. Strength to take it.

Once he defends, he rolls Responsive to try to successfully go on the attack, attempting to shift the ground under LB Dude's feet- a Precise check.

This example has a few too many rolls for each step of combat for my taste, to be honest, so it could probably do with some paring down. Perhaps some aspects are static adjustments rather than rolls- Responsiveness acts as a static reduction/bonus to rolls, and Undaunted is just HP. Alternatively, parrying with Responsiveness lets you directly reduce incoming damage by an amount based on your Strength.
Either way, we have
Str: How powerful is the power?
Und: How much damage can you take?
Pre: How versatile is the power?
End: How much can you use the power?
Rsp: How easy is the power to use?
Beaut: How much is the power public-friendly?

brian 333
2018-03-18, 08:56 PM
Ooh, I really like that method of character generation.

If I could build on it a bit:
-I like the use of the SUPERB stats, or some variation, in determining how effective powers are, rather than necessarily a uses/day thing. Not all heroes have super strength, so not all of them really care about using Strength in their statline. Instead, perhaps Strength is how powerful the fire blasts are, Precise is how carefully they can be aimed to perform complex tasks (like a wall of fire to prevent escape, for example), Responsive is how easily they can be used to defend or attack (i.e. switching from one use to the other)... either Undaunted or Enduring is how much the ability can be used in some fashion, while the other is toughness? And maybe Beautiful represents how easily it inspires- whether someone reacts to the fire with "oh god I'm going to burn" or "thank god the heroes are here"? A sort of PR stat, which represents the difference between "stopping the bad guys" and "saving the day".

Rather than defining a strict spells/day system, repeated use of a power likely damages an ability score. If your power is to unleash the darkness hidden inside you, repeatedly using it will damage your Precision and/or Responsive, with a rate determined by your Enduring(?) score. Most people will lose Strength. Someone with a power that hurts themselves will lose Undaunted, and possibly Responsive if the damage makes it harder to use.

So:

Laser Beam Dude is fighting Telekinesis Lad, and shoots a laser beam at him. TK Lad attempts to deflect the laser beam with his floating rocks, so he rolls a Responsive check to begin defending. If he succeeds, he can check his Strength against LB Dude's Strength to stop him. If he fails, he takes it right to the gut, and rolls Undaunted vs. Strength to take it.

Once he defends, he rolls Responsive to try to successfully go on the attack, attempting to shift the ground under LB Dude's feet- a Precise check.

This example has a few too many rolls for each step of combat for my taste, to be honest, so it could probably do with some paring down. Perhaps some aspects are static adjustments rather than rolls- Responsiveness acts as a static reduction/bonus to rolls, and Undaunted is just HP. Alternatively, parrying with Responsiveness lets you directly reduce incoming damage by an amount based on your Strength.
Either way, we have
Str: How powerful is the power?
Und: How much damage can you take?
Pre: How versatile is the power?
End: How much can you use the power?
Rsp: How easy is the power to use?
Beaut: How much is the power public-friendly?

I agree the system you propose is better than the spells/day idea I used. I was simply attempting to use something familiar as a baseline while offering an example of the DM deciding how to incorporate the player's imagined power into the ruleset. Plus, you know, I was thinking of the Superb acronym as just physical attributes as opposed to being directly related to the power.

I think your suggestion should be the baseline for defining powers.

Question: does a character improve with experience? Or will the system be Exp free?

redzimmer
2018-03-18, 09:12 PM
Pros and cons with exp.

On one hand it would be useful to have the hero/whatever improve as they adventure.

On the other hand, what would improve with the levels? More powers? More influence/infamy?

A typical comic hero is rather status quo in their powers and abilities. Batman is alway brooding, Spider-Man doesnít have a venomous bite, but they do gain more personal experience. Usually.

I also pondered what if different types of archetypes were governed by one letter of the acronym.

S for the flying brick and HulkThings,
U for psychics or focused martial-artist types,
P for high-tech, mad scientist, or masters of arcane arts types,
E for blobs, power men, intangible women, and regenerative sorts,
R for the very fast and arachnid-inclined,
B for those who use their wits more than their book-learning, like lanterns, creatures from fifth dimensions, ambushing bugs, jokesters and the like.

brian 333
2018-03-18, 10:03 PM
So, using the scale I devised and the SUPERB stats, I will attempt to Step 4 my example character:

Strong = 4 (she is physically fit but not exceptional.)
Undaunted = 14 (properly motivated she could lay waste to a city.)
Precise = 16 (she can control her power down to the limits of her sight.)
Enduring = 4 (she is no more robust than an ordinary physically fit human.)
Responsive = 5 (she is very agile and alert, but not extraordinarily so.)
Beautiful = 4 (she is healthy as opposed to pretty, but never relies upon her looks or charm.)

redzimmer
2018-03-18, 10:26 PM
I like the 5 being a baseline for exceptional normal human capabilities. An all-fives being someone like Maria Hill or Sgt. Rock.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-18, 10:48 PM
Under my stat designations, some or all of the stats would be allowed to improve with time, depending on the genre of the game. In particular, Responsiveness and Precision are most likely to improve with time, as they sort of represent the character's learned skill (Responsiveness) with the power, and their creativity and planning (Precise).

Actual power output improvements (Strength or Endurance) are really a matter of the power source of the character- perhaps the Iron Man expy can spend XP to level up his power source, for example.

Of note is that this sort of improvement happens, essentially, when it can be narratively justified from a comic-book perspective- a montage where the kung-fu fighter trains under a waterfall in order to increase his hit points, for example, shouldn't happen more than once per story arc, because any more than that would bore the readers (probably?).

Maybe The Incredible Bulk doesn't get to unlock Super Hulk Level II, but maybe they go get therapy and learn meditation, letting them control their power more easily. Maybe Arachnid Lad goes on a wiki-dive to learn about the properties of spiders, letting him draw more usefully from his totem animal.

Maybe the team just takes some time to think up tactics.

Hm.
A thought.
Comic book characters shouldn't really improve when they're already winning, because win-more isn't what they're about. Really, that kind of improvement should come in reaction to failure or need- perhaps they lose to the Big Bad the first round, but they regroup, prepare, and win the next time around.
Maybe experience is only gained through failure?

Alternatively, perhaps improvements are only temporary once gained, because The Status Quo Is God.

brian 333
2018-03-19, 10:20 AM
Proposal:

At the end of a game session the Administrator of the game picks crucial moments in the session to offer each player a chance to improve one ability. The crucial moment must be one that threatened the life of the hero or someone she loved. The ability that is selected for improvement is chosen by the player and approved by the Administrator based on the character's description of the character's response to the crisis.

In the case of Blaze, in her latest adventure she was shot and barely able to make it back to her base where her friend was able to extract the bullet and bandage her. During her convalescence she determined that getting shot again was something for which she had to prepare. The player describes her efforts to overcome her trauma in one of the following ways:

Strong: doesn't apply, she can't punch a bullet.

Undaunted: she practices pumping up her body heat past the vaporization temperature of copper so that jacketed bullets that touch her vaporize before they can damage her.

Precise: she practices taking out mulitple bullets in flight, possibly by creating a shield of flames between the shooter and herself.

Enduring: she vigorously trains to toughen her body.

Responsive: she vigorously trains to dodge and make herself a difficult target.

Beauty: doesn't apply, she can't charm a bullet with a dimple and a wink.

The player could have chosen any of half a hundred other options, but in the end he must choose one to present to the Administrator, who will then determine the difficulty of overcoming the challenge.

Primary Ability is the most important ability to the character's power. In the case of Blaze her Primary Ability is her Precision, but a character may have more than one or she may have no Primary abilities.

Secondary Abilitiy is the ability which supports the character's power but does not define it. While Undaunted sets the limits of the power of Blaze, it doesn't detefmine how effectively she can use it. Again, more or fewer abilities may be classed as secondary.

Tertiary Ability is an ability which in some way enhances the power or its use without being required. Blaze has no tertiary abilities.

Exceptional Abilities are abilities beyond mortal ranges, but not in the range of heroic abilities, such as Robin/Nightwing's legendary agility, (Responsiveness)

Human Ability is an ability which does not relate to the power, and in that respect is indistinguishable from the average human. Blaze has Strong, Enduring, Responsive, and Beautiful as her Human Abilities.

Weakness: when an ability is selected as a weakness, such as Hulk's Precision, it cannot be improved, though it could potentially be masked or enhanced mechanically, such as by giving a strength-enhancing exoskeleton to Myoptica, the Human Encyclopedia.

In each case a 2 die roll equalling or exceeding the character's current value must be achieved.
Primary Abilities roll 2d10
Secondary Abilities roll 2d8
Tertiary Abilities roll 2d6
Exceptional Abilities roll 2d4
Human Abilities roll 2d3

You can see that this tends toward average rolls, allowing young heroes to quickly develop powers through experience but as the character begins to peak, improvement in the ability becomes increasingly difficult.

In the case of Blaze, Precision is the focus of her training. As a child she lacked control, but quickly advanced to her current level. She has room for improvement, perhaps by getting some goggles that have telescopic or microscopic imaging which increases the distance and detail at which she may manipulate fire. In any case, it will require stressful situations requiring her to push her limits before she has a chance to improve again.

On the other hand, her Responsive stat is very high for a human, indicating that she has been in many situations where reflexes and quick thinking has made a difference. Without some new power or gear she is within one point of achieving the maximum score that ability will ever reach. With the average of 2d3 being 3.5, it may be that many rolls are required before she hits that upper limit, or she may max it out on the next roll.

redzimmer
2018-03-19, 10:31 AM
There should be implied secondary powers, absolutely.

And the proposal is good. You can gain increase inability or a secondary based on what actually you have experienced.

Like the Fallout perks system only itís more decided through your actions instead your immediate choice.

brian 333
2018-03-19, 11:19 AM
There should be implied secondary powers, absolutely.

And the proposal is good. You can gain increase inability or a secondary based on what actually you have experienced.

Like the follow perks system only itís more decided through your actions instead your immediate choice.

There certainly is room for improvement in the idea. After reading it back I realized that the proposal has built in limits on power growth. For example, I said equal or exceed the number when rolling the dice, which would mean:

Human Abilities cap at 7
Extraordinary Abilities cap at 9
Tertiary Abilities cap at 13
Secondary abilities cap at 17
Primary abilities cap at 21

The sentence should be rewritten to exclude the 'equal' part, dropping those caps by one point so that the upper human limit is six.

My proposed system also limits the possibility of improving an ability's category, so that Blaze will never be able to increase her firepower beyond that of a battleship even though she may eventually achieve the ability to overheat a single molecule or to burn her name on the face of Pluto without leaving Earth. It may be desireable to incorporate some means of bumping an ability up to the next category, allowing Blaze to eventually gain the power to set Mars on fire. (Right now she's permanently limited to small cities.)

Bumping categories should be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities which the Administrator carefully adjudicates. It should be the result of dedicated determination and extreme motivation on the part of the character. For example:

A meteor fell to Earth with an alien life form on it. The life form attaches to organic matter and after acclimatization begins to consume the matter, growing in an exponential fashion. Blaze can burn out the organism, but it has spread to multiple cities which are now covered in globs of goo which are many square miles in diameter. Desperate, she lands in the center of an infected city and exerts her force of will beyond all her current abilities, blasting the city to ash, along with the alien life form. One down, six to go!

Prior to creating this episode the Administrator decided to offer Blaze the chance to bump her Secondary Ability to a second Primary ability, noting that her reluctance to use her power on a large scale was what relegated it to secondary status. With the motive of saving the planet and given targets large enough to tax her capacity without endangering innocent bystanders, she is finally free to unleash the raw power which was always there.

P.S. Feel free to use Blaze as an example in your posts. She's obviously a ripoff of Johnny Storm anyway, although tweaked somewhat to be more versatile but less poweful.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-19, 12:14 PM
@redzimmer,

Do you have any thoughts on the alternate system I proposed for assigning ability scores? I can drop it and work within your system if you like, but I think there are some major advantages to it.

The issue I had with your stat system (and, relatedly, with lots of other superhero systems), is that for any given score, 50% of heroes won't care about the score at all. In particular, Strength is something that a lot of heroes won't care about at all- if their powers don't improve it, it's going to be human-normal for them for the majority of their career (see: Psychic types, agility-focused heroes, blaster types, elementalists in general). In a minimally complex system, it shouldn't be in their character sheet at all. In the case of Blaze, she only really has two "real" scores- rather than a statline of

S: 4
U: 14
P: 16
E: 4
R: 5
B: 4

she's really just "Human, but U:14 and P: 16".

My alternate scores are meant to adjust this by making the meaning of the scores vary depending on the specific superpowers; Strength could represent a character's level of superstrength, but it can also mean the strength of their beam blasts, the power of their waterbending, and so on. This means, among other things, that there are no dump stats in the system. A decision to give up on an ability (say, Precision) means an actual weakness in a power (it's not good at doing more than brute-force blasts), which means that characters (in particular, villains) have weaknesses that can be exploited (make the most direct use ineffective, and they can't adapt).

Rather than defining archetypes by investment in a stat, they get defined by the power, and then redefined and specialized by the statline.

A superstrong character with lots of Strength but little Precision is very different from one with lots of Precision but little Strength; the first can't do much more than swing their fist, but smashes anything in his way; the second is no more than twice human-normal, but uses it to enhance his jumping and climbing ability, use a baseball and bat to fire high-speed projectiles, wrestle and apply leverage with greater skill, etc.

It also gives a bit more room for players of different skill; if a player isn't great at coming up with creative uses of their power, they can choose not to invest much in Precision.

redzimmer
2018-03-19, 12:30 PM
I m open to all ideas. So far all I have is an acronym and a burning desire to have an easy PBP superhero game.

I welcome all ideas and frankly if this takes off without me, all the better.

I tend to get overly detail-oriented and burn out before the task is completed.


@redzimmer,

Do you have any thoughts on the alternate system I proposed for assigning ability scores? I can drop it and work within your system if you like, but I think there are some major advantages to it.

The issue I had with your stat system (and, relatedly, with lots of other superhero systems), is that for any given score, 50% of heroes won't care about the score at all. In particular, Strength is something that a lot of heroes won't care about at all- if their powers don't improve it, it's going to be human-normal for them for the majority of their career (see: Psychic types, agility-focused heroes, blaster types, elementalists in general). In a minimally complex system, it shouldn't be in their character sheet at all. In the case of Blaze, she only really has two "real" scores- rather than a statline of

S: 4
U: 14
P: 16
E: 4
R: 5
B: 4

she's really just "Human, but U:14 and P: 16".

My alternate scores are meant to adjust this by making the meaning of the scores vary depending on the specific superpowers; Strength could represent a character's level of superstrength, but it can also mean the strength of their beam blasts, the power of their waterbending, and so on. This means, among other things, that there are no dump stats in the system. A decision to give up on an ability (say, Precision) means an actual weakness in a power (it's not good at doing more than brute-force blasts), which means that characters (in particular, villains) have weaknesses that can be exploited (make the most direct use ineffective, and they can't adapt).

Rather than defining archetypes by investment in a stat, they get defined by the power, and then redefined and specialized by the statline.

A superstrong character with lots of Strength but little Precision is very different from one with lots of Precision but little Strength; the first can't do much more than swing their fist, but smashes anything in his way; the second is no more than twice human-normal, but uses it to enhance his jumping and climbing ability, use a baseball and bat to fire high-speed projectiles, wrestle and apply leverage with greater skill, etc.

It also gives a bit more room for players of different skill; if a player isn't great at coming up with creative uses of their power, they can choose not to invest much in Precision.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-19, 01:40 PM
Alright.

I'm going to try to propose the broad strokes of a system, then.

System is d20 based.
Rather than using half the stat as the bonus, conservation of detail - your bonus is equal to the relevant score.

Character sheets are backstory + fluff-esque stuff + a list of Powers.
(Undaunted is hard to measure, so I'm keeping it out for now. Also, I might reformat the acronym a bit)
A Power is formatted as follows
Skill: Renamed version of Precision.
U: Not present until I work it out.
Power: Renamed version of Strength.
E: Endurance, as in my example
R: Responsiveness, as in my example.
B: Beauty, as in my example.
A set of power mods (ex. -2 Strength but +1 Skill/Responsiveness during the day)
A stat or set of stats that the ability costs.
A description of how the power works, and its limits.
You have X points to allocate total, between Powers (for which each value must be 1 at minimum), mods, and Skills (noncombat stuff) at chargen.

"Human Normal" is a power everyone has, which has all values 3 (the default). This power is stuff anyone can do, even a normal human. It costs Strength.

Taking turns:
Highest Responsiveness goes first, unless someone else has surprise.

On your turn, you can do all of the following:
Take a non-attack action, possibly enabled by your Power. If you need to use your power for this, a Skill roll may be needed. Responsiveness may be affected.
Attack or Interact. If you don't, you can Interrupt later without penalty.


An Attack is as follows:
Roll your Power against their Power or Skill (at their option), which they use to defend. Your degree of success is the amount of damage they take (may not be appropriate?).

An Interaction is as follows:
Describe what you're doing to someone. Roll your Skill against their Skill. If you succeed, reduce the most effected score they possess by 3 until they deal with what you did (blow away the smokescreen, break the net they're caught in, etc). If they really fail, like by 5 or more, reduce it by 5 instead, and it's harder to deal with(?)

Interrupt: This is an enhanced Defend action. Add any number, up to your Responsiveness, to your defense roll (for anything). Subtract that number from your rolls on your next turn. (Note: would like Responsiveness to reduce this somehow). Alternatively, you can generally disrupt someone else's action- roll Power or Skill vs. Responsiveness to apply a -4 penalty to a single roll, but lose your next combat action as a penalty.
Do this once per turn.

When you use a power to take an action, mark a tick. When you reach a number of ticks equal to the Endurance for that power, clear them, and reduce the stat the power costs by 3.

Thoughts:
Not sure on the role of Beauty in this system. It might be better served if the acronym were S.U.P.E.R., and let PR stuff be a noncombat skill.
Not sure that Undaunted is really a power-specific thing. Maybe characters only have one power? Then it would work better. Might make more sense, though some really versatile characters are harder to build.
The role of Responsiveness isn't great here. I like having it as a limiter to how much you can attack and defend at the same time, but I'm not happy with the implementation. Maybe it's the thing you roll to defend against Interactions (work out what they're doing and avoid it)?
So Attack is Power v. Power or Skill(maybe?), Interact is Skill vs. Responsiveness, and Interrupt is Responsiveness vs. the roll they're using, as an alternate defense(?)... And then on a failed Interrupt, you take a penalty on your next turn to attack back because you're overwhelmed...
Nearly there, I think.

Noncombat skills:
A skill is simultaneously a Power and a noncombat skill. When used in combat, it's added to your Human Normal's Skill for specific uses. Out of combat, use it like a normal d20 skill check.

brian 333
2018-03-19, 01:49 PM
How powerful is my hero?

Extrapolating from the Abilities, I come up with some ideas to feed the imagination.

Weaklings: these beings have one or more Abilities which are below human normal without compensating higher powers. For example, Jubilee from the X-men cartoon. Her power was a handicap, and she had no compensatory higher abilities.

Humans: these characters have no major flaws but no special abilities either.

Exceptional Humans: these characters have one or more Exceptional Abilities, and minor powers.

Extraordinary Humans: these characters may have one or more ability of Tertiary power, and may have simple powers.

Heroes: with one or more abilities at Secondary power level, the hero may have complex or multiple powers.

Superheroes: with one or more abilities at Primary power levels, these are the ultimate powerhouses.


How to decide:

An Administrator may decide the power level of her campaign and set the level of power by fiat in step 4. This method gives all players more or less equal power levels.

Randomized results may offer greater variety, but the character should have completed Step 1 prior to determining power levels. Thus, the player has an idea of what order she wishes to try her luck. Each roll is a percentile roll, and should be made in the order the player determines to be from most important ability to least important.

First roll:
81-100 = Primary Ability
61-80 = Secondary Ability
41-60 = Tertiary Ability
21-40 = Extraordinary Ability
1-20 = Exceptional Ability

Second roll: (If no Primary power gained, add +10 to die roll.)
91-100 = Primary Ability
71-90 = Secondary Ability
51-70 = Tertiary Ability
31-50 = Extraordinary Ability
11-30 = Exceptional Ability
1-10 = Human Ability

Third Roll: (If no Primary Ability rollled, add +20 to die roll, if no Secondary Ability rolled add +10.)
96-100 = Primary Ability
86-95 = Secondary Ability
66-85 = Tertiary Ability
46-65 = Extraordinary Ability
26-45 = Exceptional Ability
6-25 = Human Ability
1-5 = Weakness

Fourth Roll: (If no Primary Ability rolled add +30 to the die roll, if no Secondary Ability rolled add +20, if no tertiary ability rolled add +10.)
99-100 = Primary Ability
94-98 = Secondary Ability
84-93 = Tertiary Ability
64-83 = Extraordinary Ability
44-63 = Exceptional Ability
11-43 = Human Ability
1-10 = Weakness

Fifth Roll: (If no Primary Ability rolled add +40 to the roll, if no Secondary Ability rolled add +30, if no Tertiary Ability rolled, add +20, if no Exceptional Ability rolled add +10, if a Weakness has been rolled add +5)
100 = Primary Ability
98-99 = Secondary Ability
93-97 = Tertiary Ability
73-92 = Extraordinary Ability
53-72 = Exceptional Ability
16-52 = Human Ability
1-15 = Weakness

Sixth Roll (If no Primary Ability rolled add +50 to the roll, if no Secondary Ability rolled add +40, If no Tertiary Ability rolled add +30, if no Extraordinary Ability rolled add +20, if no Exceptional Ability rolled add +10, if two Weaknesses have been rolled add+10, if one Weakness has been rolled add +5 )
100 = Primary Ability
99 = Secondary Ability
94-98 = Tertiary Ability
74-93 = Extraordinary Ability
54-73 = Exceptional Ability
21-53 = Human Ability
1-20 = Weakness

No more than one modifier per roll is allowed. Thus if a player has not rolled either a Primary or Secondary Ability by the Third Roll she may choose to add +20 or +10, but not both. This system is skewed towards assuring multiple higher Ability Scores. It should be viewed as a brainstorm concept intended for tweaking.

Now the question arises about final power levels. Again, Administrator Fiat may apply, or the following might serve for random beginning scores:

Primary Abilities roll 2d10 for starting scores
Secondary Abilities roll 2d8
Tertiary Abilities roll 2d6
Extraordinary Abilities roll 2d4
Exceptional abilities roll 2d3
Human Abilities roll 2d3
Weaknesses roll 1d3

If the character has no Primary Abilities the player may choose to improve one Weakness to Human Ability level. A character without weaknesses loses any benefit for having no Primary Abilities.
If a character has no Primary or Secondary Abilities, the player may also add +1 to any roll. This must be declared before the roll, and if it results in a score exceeding the power level of that Ability the Ability is bumped up to the next higher power level.
If a character has no Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Abilities, she may choose to also add another +1, (+2 total,) to a power level roll or mai instead add the +1 to another Ability when rolling its power level.

The Ability Scores thus derived are the starting stats of the character, with most having room for improvement in the early game, which becomes more difficult as the character begins to approach maximum.

As an example of an alternate idea, suppose the Ability begins at the top of the next lower power level and a single die roll determines the final score, so a Primary Ability score would be derived from 15+1d5, a Secondary from 12+1d4, a Tertiary from 8+1d4, etc.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-19, 01:53 PM
That's a little too much RNG for my taste. I feel that the decision to have one or more weaknesses should be under the players' control, and that lacking a choice otherwise, players should be equal in power.

An alternate proposal for random stat generation:

You start with 10 points in each of your stats.
Roll 4d6
For each roll, subtract 3 from each stat designated by the first set of rolls, and add 3 to each stat designated by the second set of rolls.
1: Skill
2: Undaunted
3: Power
4: Endurance
5: Responsiveness
6: Beauty

So my example generation for Blaze generates as follows:
+3 to Undaunted, Power, Undaunted(again), and Beauty
-3 to Endurance, Undaunted, Endurance(again), and Beauty
Net:
+3 Undaunted
-6 Endurance
+3 Power

So she won't stay down, and she has a lot of power to dish out- but she runs out of power very quickly, relative to other heroes.

Alternatively, players can distribute points as they like.

brian 333
2018-03-19, 01:58 PM
That's a little too much RNG for my taste. I feel that the decision to have one or more weaknesses should be under the players' control, and that lacking a choice otherwise, players should be equal in power.

It was a brainstorm, and subject to being discarded. Extract what's useful and flush the rest.

Also, I was triple-ninjaed! Time to go back and incorporate what I missed.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-19, 02:27 PM
I updated my post with an example random generation that should keep characters roughly equal.

redzimmer
2018-03-19, 04:03 PM
One creation option:

As with real-life, a skill-based mortal could choose their abilities, but someone with supernatural abilities should have to roll randomly.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-19, 04:26 PM
I see that as something that depends on the GM, really. This is basically the argument between point-buy and randomly generated stats.

Given that a superhero setting is usually on the less realistic side, I'd argue for point-buy over random generation, myself.

redzimmer
2018-03-19, 04:53 PM
True enough. This is a brainstorm, so just tossing everything as they come.

brian 333
2018-03-20, 10:55 AM
The idea of 10+ has merit, but it also genericizes every character to the center of the power scale. On the other hand, my random tables were intended to spread abilities across power levels. The Administrator might want more or less control of power allocation. In my original writeup I gave full authority to the Administrator to assign abilities.

Simple should be the rule.

So, the Administrator decides the power scale of her campaign. These categories can be used to define NPCs as well.
Weakling = 1d3 for each ability
Normal Human = all abilities 2 + 1d3
Exceptional Human = as Human with one ability 3 + 1d4
Extraordinary Being = as Exceptional with one ability 5 + 1d6
Heroic Being = as Extraordinary with one ability 7 + 1d8
Super Heroic Being = as Heroic with one ability 9 + 1d10

Alternatively, the Administrator may decide the power level of her campaign by dictating the power level of the player character stats. In this method the Administrator may choose to allow each character one Super Hero level stat, one Heroic stat, one Extraordinary Stat, one Exceptional stat, and two Normal stats. Or if the Administrator wants more or less power available to the PC, she could dictate two or more Super stats, multiple Heroic stats, or even impose a mandatory Weakling stat. Superman, for example, would be difficult to create without multiple Super stats, but Batman requires only Exceptional stats with possibly Extraordinary Precision (or Skill.)

I keep toying with the idea of exchanging a Normal stat to a Weakling stat to allow a player to bump another stat to the next level, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to balance it so a player doesn't create a dumpstat for greater power. I could see Blaze taking Beauty as her dumpstat in exchange for an upgrade to her Responsiveness, for example, which would not harm the character in any way.

***

Request:

We've brainstormed in some contradictory directions which is good, but it is becoming difficult to project without basing it on what we've written before. For example, I've been using my Ability power scale to describe the various Abilities. If this scale is in a broad-brush way acceptable but in need of tweaking, I can continue to use it in further development and let the tweaks take care of themselves. If, on the other hand, it is determined that a different scale is wanted, it might be easier to fix the scale now to conform to the intended goals.

My request is that the OP list concepts that fit the intent of the system so that I don't go off base too far in extrapolating what's next.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-20, 03:16 PM
Yeah, it does seem like we have two divergent systems here:

Brian 333:
-Original SUPERB stat definitions
-Primary/secondary/tertiary/exceptional/normal/weak stats defining various "tiers" of power


Me:
-Alternative stat definitions
-point-buy equivalent rng stat generation
-Rudimentary abstract combat system.

redzimmer
2018-03-20, 03:33 PM
Both have a lot of merit. Thus far Iíve contributed an acronym and ďhey wouldnít a superhero game be cool?Ē

Maybe flesh both out, Iíll gm a playtest for both and see what works for both, take away what doesnít, ?, Profit.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-20, 07:20 PM
In terms of design focus, I think we should work on one at a time; it's more helpful to have two people working well on one thing than to have them half-assing two things or each working on their own thing.

Brian:
You have a lot of ideas about how to generate characters. What are your thoughts on how to handle resolving combat or the effects of powers within your system (and its associated acronym)?


Edit:
A thought on your power scale, at least within the context of my version of the acronym.

While I'm not opposed to measuring power levels on a scale that goes from low to high, I think that its relevance is basically dependent on whether or not characters advance over time.

If characters don't advance over time, than there's relatively little reason to describe their power levels in absolute terms. What matters is how their levels compare to each other, and to the enemies they face in the immediate sense. It doesn't matter exactly how strong someone is, just how much stronger or weaker they are than their immediate opponent.

Edit 2:
Reworked combat actions.
Attack:
Roll Power. Opponent defends with either Power or Skill. In either case, a success means the attack is completely blocked. If someone defends with Skill, on a failure they take full damage (i.e. =Power). If someone defends with Power, on a failure they take full damage, minus half their Power.

Interact:
Roll Skill. Opponent can defend with Skill or Responsiveness. On a failure, they get a Condition. On a failure by 5 or more, they get a major Condition (-5 instead). If they have a similar condition, it is instead upgraded to Major. If it was Major, it now imposes -8.

Conditions can be removed with an appropriate roll (usually vs. Skill, but Power may be appropriate, depending.) and a combat action. They impose a -3/-5 penalty to a specific stat.

When you take damage, you must make a Responsiveness roll vs. the amount of damage or take a penalty equal to the DoF/2 to all rolls for a turn due to shock.

Readied actions exist, replacing Interrupt.

A note:
Making a stat bonus = your relevant stat allows me to make characters roll against unusual things- for example, rolling against damage taken.

lt_murgen
2018-03-21, 01:57 PM
Have you looked at FASERIP? It is the generic clone of the original TSR Marvel Superhero game. Fast, easy, and simple. Also free.

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/177913/Faserip

redzimmer
2018-03-21, 02:08 PM
Have you looked at FASERIP? It is the generic clone of the original TSR Marvel Superhero game. Fast, easy, and simple. Also free.

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/177913/Faserip

Certainly will give it a look.

brian 333
2018-03-21, 02:23 PM
Brian:
You have a lot of ideas about how to generate characters. What are your thoughts on how to handle resolving combat or the effects of powers within your system (and its associated acronym)?

I'm still working on this, but the intent is simplicity, and I keep getting complex.

I like the contested rolls idea.

I'm taking a minute to get there, but ideas are churning away in the mental ice cream mixer.

brian 333
2018-03-22, 02:14 PM
Introduction

The intent of this game is to create a very simple set of rules to administer and play a game of comic-book hero fantasy. Since comic book heroes range from ordinary humans to world-devouring super beings, the ruleset must be flexible, but players and administrators alike must keep in mind that weaker heroes face opponents of more or less equivalent power while even superheroes can be challenged.

Thus players should not expect to face Apocalypse unless their character is of equivalent power, and Administrators should not create adventures suitable for Robin for player characters of Superman's stature.

Book 1: Characters

Player Characters are heroic in some fashion. Perhaps they are ordinary humans with some technology that makes them superior, such as Iron Man or Venom, or perhaps they wield innate super powers, but these characters are special in some way.

Most have some vulnerability, the severity of which tends to scale with their power such as Batman's dependence upon preparation and having what he needs in his utility belt or Superman being paralyzed in the presence of kryptonite.

The same applies to the villains these heroes encounter, though perhaps less so to their henchmen. Players should ultimately expect to face characters which challenge their character, exploit their character's weakness, and manipulate the situation to their advantage, and the player should be ready to do the same.

1-1: Creating A Hero

The Administrator builds the adventure, and is therefore responsible for establishing the Power Ranking of the characters. This is important because a challenge for The Hulk would be impossible for Nightwing to defeat in combat. Both characters are heroic, but they fight on vastly different scales.

The Power Ranks are listed below, from weakest to most powerful:
Weakling (Shaggy from Scooby Doo)
Human (Tony Stark from Iron Man)
Extraordinary Human (Robin from Batman)
Hero (Storm from X-Men)
Super Hero (Super Man)

When creating the character both Player and Administrator must keep the Power Ranking in mind. Certain abilities, such as the ability to fly, might be Hero Rank powers. For example, Tony Stark cannot fly without an Iron Man suit, Robin can glide or parachute using his cape, but Storm can fly at will. Players should design their characters with this in mind and collaborate with the Administrator to insure the character ultimately conforms to the established Power Ranking of the adventure.

1-2: Background or Origin Story

In this phase of the character creation process the player creates the background for the character, explaining the origin of the character's powers, motivations, and vulnerabilities.The murder of Batman's parents motivated him to become a crime solver, while Superman's birth on Krypton explains his powers and vulnerability to Kryptonite.

Keep in mind that many comic-book heroes have multiple origin stories, such as the several Green Lanterns. Revisions at a later time can simply be retconned and assumed to have always been or they can come as dramatic in character reveals, such as **** Grayson's discovery that his parent's 'accident' was the result of Batman failing to prevent their murder.

1-3: Define The Powers

In this phase the player declares the powers of the character in collaboration with the Administrator. Keep in mind that some powers easily scale while others are innately very powerful or very weak. Laser Beam Eyes might scale from laser pointer to orbital bombardment laser, while Flatulent Cloud Emission is subject to airflow and wind direction. Both player and Administrator should be prepared to compromise.

Keep in mind that many super heroes grow in power as they go from adventure to adventure, such as the ever-increasing power of the Iron Man suit, so a power rejected in this phase as too powerful might be 'discovered' as the character grows.

Some examples by Power Ranking:
Weakling = Jubilee from X-Men Cartoon. Weakling powers are mostly comic relief, but occasionally can be quite powerful in their result. Imagine Jubilee touching Iron Man...
Human = The Joker from Batman. Human level powers tend to be ordinary abilities taken to an extreme such as The Joker's diabolical genius.
Extraordinary Human = Green Arrow. Extraordinary powers are beyond typical human capacity, but do not require exotic origins. Green Arrow's precision is augmented with a variety of technologies, but do not require his having been born on Arrowtron.
Hero = Cyclops. Heroic powers are powerful, but very often thematic or limited in versatility. When Cyclops takes off his glasses something explodes, which pretty much limits his usefulness to battlefields. More generic heroic powers may be versatile but less lowerful, such as Mr. Fantastic's elasticity.
Superhero = The Incredible Hulk. Virtually impossible to injure and capable of inflicting massive damage, such beings are only limited by their vulnerabilities, such as The Hulk's need to find a place to rest after his rage abates. (For some reason this always seems to be where it's raining.)

Characters with multiple powers may be too powerful for the Power Ranking of the campaign, and players should expect that the capacity of such powers will be reduced, or that the Administrator will limit the number of powers a character can have. The Swiss Army Knife character should expect to sacrifice power for versatility, but Administrators should consider allowing characters with focused thematic abilities which have limited usefulness to maximize that one power.

1-4: Define Vulnerabilities

Comic-book heroes tend to be vulnerable to something, and the more powerful characters have more debilitating vulnerabilities. The Human ranked Indiana Jones hates snakes, but they have no effect other than to squick him out, while Superman, exposed to kryptonite, becomes helpless. Defining the weakness(es) of characters should be thematically linked, such as Batman's dependency on his Utility Belt, and they should scale with the Power Ranking of the character.

Administrators should reward players who devise weaknesses which might plausibly come into play. Achilles having a vulnerability directly related to his greatest power, (minor scratch on his heel kills him, but the rest of his body cannot be pierced,) is an example of linking vulnerability and strength.

Obscure or inconsequential weaknesses should be rejected or modified. Peanut Allergy might be an appropriate vulnerability for a Weakling, but would not serve as a vulnerability for The Hulk, (and would have no thematic link anyway.) A vulnerability which disables a hero in the presence of the Mona Lisa would be difficult to invoke unless the hero only fights Art Thief, who regularly targets The Louvre. In general, the vulnerabilities of characters should be as powerful as their power.

It is expected that the character will attempt to conceal vulnerabilities.

1-5: Adjudication Of Powers

In this stage the Administrator is responsible for setting the limits of the character's powers. The primary goal is to help the player's character conform to the adventure's Power Ranking. In this it is important for the Administrator to uphold the spirit of the player's intent, so the player gets, in the end, the character she imagined.

Some powers are easily scaleable such as Laser Beam Eyes. The Administrator coulr rule that Weaklings with Laser Beam Eyes are the equivalent of laser pointers, Humans have Flaslight eyes, Extraordinary Humans could boil water or remove tattoos, Heroes burn holes in things and Super Heroes vaporize whatever they can see. Some powers such as Thunder Punch might have a minimum Power Ranking, such that only Heroes could manifest them.

In this the Administrator is aided by Character Abilities. Abilities define the powers in terms of game mechanics, and are used to determine success or failure of the intended use. In determining the Power Ranking of the acventure, the Administrator must dictate the Power Ranking of each of the six Abilities, from Weakling to Super Hero. Adventures which have higher Power Ranking should allow multiple Heroic or Super Heroic Abilities, while lower Power Ranking adventures would require limits on such abilities. Characters which are extremely focused and self limited by their choice of powers or vulnerabilities should be rewarded with one or two Abilities exceeding the campaign norm, while characters which can do everything should be similarly limited by reducing the highest Power Ranking Abilities.

For Example, suppose Laser Lad has only Laser Vision. The Administrator might reward him by upgrading his Precision Ability to the next higher Power Ranking due to his self-limiting choice of power. Meanwhile, General Girl can do everything every comic-book hero can do. The Administrator would be justified in reducing the Abilities of the highest Power Ranking for this character.

Abilities are not physical attributes, but measures of the character's control of and resistance to Powers. Humans have very poor performance in those areas while Super Heroes have incredible performance. The scale ranges from 1 to 20.

1-2 = Weakling (1d2) equal to a small monkey
3-5 = Human (1d3+2) equal to a normal human
6-9 = Extraordinary Human (1d4+5) equal to the strength of a motor vehicle
10-14 = Hero (1d5+9) equal to the strength of a battleship
15-20 = Super Hero (1d6+14) equal to the strength of a Death Star

Note: Alternative means of deriving Ability Scores will be presented later.

The six Abilities are:
Strength - relative strength of the hero's Powers
Undaunted - ability to resist or exert mental control
Precision - ability to exert fine control in the use of the hero's Powers
Endurance - ability to resist physical injuries or to sustain activities over time
Reflex - ability to react to threats or avoid them
Beauty - ability to manipulate the public's perception of the hero

Note: Further explanation of and the use of Abilities will be discussed later.

1-6: Description

In this phase the character generates not only a physical description of her character, but such things as aliases, secret identities, lairs, friends and family, and other details which turn the character from a set of stats and powers into a character. Obviously, wealth might be an issue for technology dependant characters, and Administrators may impose limits both for reasons of game balance and characterization. A character with a background of a train-hopping hobo won't have wealth, while a normal human with super-powered technologies require a lot simply to maintain their status as heroes.

While this phase is driven by the player, the Administrator should exert her authority to limit the choices players make for their characters. A character with infinite wealth might be an issue for an adventure, but the Administrator might consider tying that wealth to a trust fund which allows the character to maintain a secret laboratory, but not to buy every super-suit on the market.

Finally, at this point it may be necessary to review the Background of the character to incorporate changes from the original intent to the character as finalized. This is not intended as a retcon, but a clarification based on the ideas which emerged in the creation process.


***


Please PEACH the above while I start on Book 2: Conflict. Also to come is Book 3: Adventures

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-22, 05:14 PM
PEACH:

I'm unsure about 1-4, Define Weaknesses, since it seems as though many heroes don't have weaknesses (or at least, not significant ones). While qualitative weaknesses (e.g. Kryptonite) make sense to some degree, it seems as though a weakness that is the equivalent of a "dump stat" (see your example for The Hulk in 1-3) should be separated in some way.

I'm not sure if you're converting wholly to my acronym meanings, but you should be aware that I've defined Undaunted to represent health as a whole (the "not-giving-up-ness" of the hero), and Endurance to represent the "cost" of the power- higher Endurance means it can be used more and easier. I've also moved Beauty out of the central stats, and into a noncombat skill. You can include or exclude these as you like.

Currently missing are noncombat skills (Technology(inc. hacking), Public Relations, Infiltration, and Magic are the ones I've come up with, representing different "archetypes" of skilled characters), and the opportunity for point-buy.

Other than that, it seems like a decent character generation system. It's focused on the idea behind the power, and especially on the character concept, rather than asking the DM or player to develop power rules, which I like. It's dependent on DM fiat to actually define character abilities, which I don't like- I would be happy if there were a point-buy option, or that stats could be completely randomly generated as appropriate to the power level of the game (see my example on the previous page- adjust up or down from 10 as desired).

brian 333
2018-03-22, 08:47 PM
PEACH:

I'm unsure about 1-4, Define Weaknesses, since it seems as though many heroes don't have weaknesses (or at least, not significant ones). While qualitative weaknesses (e.g. Kryptonite) make sense to some degree, it seems as though a weakness that is the equivalent of a "dump stat" (see your example for The Hulk in 1-3) should be separated in some way.

I need to incorporate a line about "characters with no Vulnerrabilities seldom reach the pinnacles of power" or some such. I like the idea of Vulnerabilities, but I suppose I should have worded it so that it is clear that vulnerabilities are optional.

While it is possible that a Vulnerability is a Weakling Rank Ability, the idea of dumpstats bugs me. Vulnerabilities should be thematically linked to the Power. Thus Hulk's rage leads to exhaustion. This is unrelated to Ability Scores.


I'm not sure if you're converting wholly to my acronym meanings, but you should be aware that I've defined Undaunted to represent health as a whole (the "not-giving-up-ness" of the hero), and Endurance to represent the "cost" of the power- higher Endurance means it can be used more and easier. I've also moved Beauty out of the central stats, and into a noncombat skill. You can include or exclude these as you like.

I went back and reassessed the Abilities. Keeping the 'simple' requirement in mind, Strength refers to how powerful a Power is, Precision defines how adaptable and controllable it is, etc. If a character's power is Supergenius Inventor, the Strength ability would dictate the relative power of his inventions while Precision would inform the player on its versatility. The difference is Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne. Iron Man is exceedingly powerful, but it is a one-trick-pony. Batman has a gadget for every conceivable situation. Both would possess the Supergenius Inventor Power, but Stark would have the higher Strength Ability while Wayne would have higher Precision.

Likewise I have altered Undaunted to mean Mental Fortitude and Endurance to equate to physical fortitude as regards powers used against those capabilities.

I am intentionally avoiding the development of derived stats, so there will be no hit points or skills. The idea being simplicity. I intend to explain this in Book 2.


Currently missing are noncombat skills (Technology(inc. hacking), Public Relations, Infiltration, and Magic are the ones I've come up with, representing different "archetypes" of skilled characters), and the opportunity for point-buy.

Other than that, it seems like a decent character generation system. It's focused on the idea behind the power, and especially on the character concept, rather than asking the DM or player to develop power rules, which I like. It's dependent on DM fiat to actually define character abilities, which I don't like- I would be happy if there were a point-buy option, or that stats could be completely randomly generated as appropriate to the power level of the game (see my example on the previous page- adjust up or down from 10 as desired).

Non-combat skills are, in my proposal, incorporated in the six Abilities. Strength of the power, not physical strength of the person, describes how effective a Power is, be it technological or magical. Public Relations is now incorporated as Beauty. Infiltration, if not backed by a Power, is the same for a hero or a human. The use of Skills And Powers will be incorporated into Books 2 and 3.

Administrator fiat is the baseline rule for defining Abilities, but I do plan alternate schemes of deriving Ability Scores. In the baseline model the emphasis is on tiers of power, allowing easy generation of NPCs and basic PCs. The point-buy system is one option I have under consideration, but have not yet defined. Broader variability in Ability Scores is another, while Character Growth is also being considered, meaning PCs might begin with Ability Scores below the current levels listed for Power Ranking with the intent that they are able to improve them, with diminishing returns as the stats reach closer to their maximum for their Power Ranking. This is planned for inclusion in Book 3.

Keep in mind that I am using your ideas and arguments to improve my proposal, whether I directly incorporate them or am guided by them to correct my own ideas. But it takes some time for concepts to get translated into words in my head, so please be patient with me if I seem obtuse from time to time. But I had to go back and pick a system of defining characters from the different options before I could go forward into Conflicts. Now that I am working from a single option rather than three, explaining how characters interact should be easier. But it's not easy to resist the urge to get complex. Simple isn't easy!

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-22, 09:14 PM
I went back and reassessed the Abilities. Keeping the 'simple' requirement in mind, Strength refers to how powerful a Power is, Precision defines how adaptable and controllable it is, etc. If a character's power is Supergenius Inventor, the Strength ability would dictate the relative power of his inventions while Precision would inform the player on its versatility. The difference is Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne. Iron Man is exceedingly powerful, but it is a one-trick-pony. A man dressed like a bat has a gadget for every conceivable situation. Both would possess the Supergenius Inventor Power, but Stark would have the higher Strength Ability while Wayne would have higher Precision.

Likewise I have altered Undaunted to mean Mental Fortitude and Endurance to equate to physical fortitude as regards powers used against those capabilities.

Hm. I don't see a strong reason to differentiate mental and physical damage, due to the fact that I expect one to be far more common than the other. In addition, I don't have a strong image in my mind of heroes that would be significantly higher in one ability than the other.

With that in mind, I adjusted Endurance to define the "limitations" on a hero's abilities- exhaustion, a power source running out, and so on. To continue the analogy of Iron Man and Batman, a hypothetical hero, Mad Scientist, might have higher Skill and Power, but lower Endurance, giving him a strong variety of versatile supergadgets, but making them unreliable.


I am intentionally avoiding the development of derived stats, so there will be no hit points or skills. The idea being simplicity. I intend to explain this in Book 2.

Interesting! A hitpoint-less system isn't something I've seen before, so I'm excited to see what you're going to do!


Strength of the power, not physical strength of the person, describes how effective a Power is, be it technological or magical. Public Relations is now incorporated as Beauty. Infiltration, if not backed by a Power, is the same for a hero or a human. The use of Skills And Powers will be incorporated into Books 2 and 3.
This makes sense to me.

One thing I'm unsure about, though, is treating Beauty identically to the other stats, for three reasons.
-Lack of broad usage compared to, say, Strength/Power. Beauty is used for a single use, and not necessarily very often, either.
-A hero with High Strength/low Beauty definitely does not feel on the same power level as one with high Beauty/low Strength- they shouldn't be fighting together, really, and considering them equivalent in value feels wrong.
-Public opinion feels like it should shift significantly more, based on the actions of the heroes, than other scores.

brian 333
2018-03-22, 09:41 PM
One thing I'm unsure about, though, is treating Beauty identically to the other stats, for three reasons.
-Lack of broad usage compared to, say, Strength/Power. Beauty is used for a single use, and not necessarily very often, either.
-A hero with High Strength/low Beauty definitely does not feel on the same power level as one with high Beauty/low Strength- they shouldn't be fighting together, really, and considering them equivalent in value feels wrong.
-Public opinion feels like it should shift significantly more, based on the actions of the heroes, than other scores.

But Beauty as I have defined it is an aspect of virtually all comic-book heroes. Spider man's popularity in spite of a steady campaign of misinformation against him, the outright fear of Hulk in spite of his ndver killing anyone, the adulation Captain America hates and Superman tolerates with wry amusement, etc.

It makes a difference when interacting with the public. For example, Superman can always rely on the public for help, but can Batman? The Hulk can always rely on the public to turn him over to The Army.

redzimmer
2018-03-22, 09:46 PM
Like the idea of traits and flaws in D&D, the concept of weaknessses should:

A) be optional
and
B) trade in for more power/feat/perks

I think the best way to adjudicate this would be to link the additional power and weakness intransigently.

Examples:

Superman is powered by yellow sunlight, so heís always recharging. Thus, red sunlight makes him powerless.

The Hulk gets more powerful the angrier he becomes. However, once heís mad enough, he becomes an uncontrollable avatar of destruction.

***
The Acronym of abilities should control the suite of skills for the hero, mostly for ease of use. With fiat for obvious fudges to allow for Rule of Cool.

If Blaze thinks up a particularly awesome scheme where she gradually heats up a villain stronghold so they get sluggish and fall asleep, this isnít exactly an attack roll. It needs a precision roll to get the temperature just right.

But suppose Blazeís PC took P as the dump stat and rolls a ď1Ē. As Administrator I would allow her an innate understanding of temperature and a circumstance bonus to let it work. Too good an idea to let the RNG deny.

On the other hand, if she says ďimma throw fire at the robot,Ē and misses the attack roll, tough luck.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-23, 12:11 AM
But Beauty as I have defined it is an aspect of virtually all comic-book heroes. Spider man's popularity in spite of a steady campaign of misinformation against him, the outright fear of Hulk in spite of his ndver killing anyone, the adulation Captain America hates and Superman tolerates with wry amusement, etc.

It makes a difference when interacting with the public. For example, Superman can always rely on the public for help, but can Batman? The Hulk can always rely on the public to turn him over to The Army.

I agree that Beauty as defined here is an aspect of all comic-book heroes. What I'm questioning is the following apparent assumptions (rephasing my three previous points):
-That it is of equal importance to the other abilities.

This is an implied assumption, based on the fact that all abilities run off the same scale.

I'm pretty sure this just isn't true. Power and Skill, in particular, are the single most important attributes determining your ability to interact with the world.

-That it scales well between low and high power characters.

This extends naturally from the assumption that

In general, Beauty is disconnected from other attributes. This is not true of most of the other attributes; characters with high Undauntedness tend to have lots of Endurance. Characters with high Skill tend to have high Reflexes.

Furthermore, you have high- and low- Beauty characters at both ends of the power level spectrum, essentially independently of their actual power level. You have powerful mutants (Marvel), and weaker but popular characters (Aquaman :smalltongue:), so quantifying Beauty on a scale from Human to Superhero seems deceptive, especially when "human" is literally defining the second-lowest point on the scale.

-That it is an essential part of the character, and that changing it is as difficult as increasing their Power.

This one is a little harder to argue, actually. The characterization of public opinion of a character is about as consistent as their actual power levels, so I'm okay with this from a narrativistic point of view.


QED: It should be moved into background information (1-6), analogously to wealth, allies, and contacts.


On weaknesses:
Weaknesses come in two general categories, IMO:
-Stuff that turns your powers off.
-Limitations of your powers.

The former are things that can be used to attack you. You can handle them (under my prototype combat system) as a supercharged Interact roll, where your Strength goes way, way down on a success. Kryptonite is an example.

The former are generally written into your power's rules. If you're invulnerable except in a particular place, it's likely that your invulnerability has Power 10(say) except against people who know your weak point- against whom you have Power 0 , and must defend with Skill.


Also, comments re: my thoughts on Endurance and Undaunted?

brian 333
2018-03-23, 08:59 AM
I agree that Beauty as defined here is an aspect of all comic-book heroes. What I'm questioning is the following apparent assumptions (rephasing my three previous points):
-That it is of equal importance to the other abilities.

This is an implied assumption, based on the fact that all abilities run off the same scale.

I'm pretty sure this just isn't true. Power and Skill, in particular, are the single most important attributes determining your ability to interact with the world.

-That it scales well between low and high power characters.

This extends naturally from the assumption that

In general, Beauty is disconnected from other attributes. This is not true of most of the other attributes; characters with high Undauntedness tend to have lots of Endurance. Characters with high Skill tend to have high Reflexes.

Furthermore, you have high- and low- Beauty characters at both ends of the power level spectrum, essentially independently of their actual power level. You have powerful mutants (Marvel), and weaker but popular characters (Aquaman :smalltongue:), so quantifying Beauty on a scale from Human to Superhero seems deceptive, especially when "human" is literally defining the second-lowest point on the scale.

-That it is an essential part of the character, and that changing it is as difficult as increasing their Power.

This one is a little harder to argue, actually. The characterization of public opinion of a character is about as consistent as their actual power levels, so I'm okay with this from a narrativistic point of view.


QED: It should be moved into background information (1-6), analogously to wealth, allies, and contacts.


On weaknesses:
Weaknesses come in two general categories, IMO:
-Stuff that turns your powers off.
-Limitations of your powers.

The former are things that can be used to attack you. You can handle them (under my prototype combat system) as a supercharged Interact roll, where your Strength goes way, way down on a success. Kryptonite is an example.

The former are generally written into your power's rules. If you're invulnerable except in a particular place, it's likely that your invulnerability has Power 10(say) except against people who know your weak point- against whom you have Power 0 , and must defend with Skill.


Also, comments re: my thoughts on Endurance and Undaunted?

The thing is, there are a hundred right ways to do a thing. At some point you have to pick one and go with it. While I'm not aware of any comic-book characters who are primarily Beauty-based, such a character would be hard to beat. Thor's strength is legendary, but what if a similarly powerful character, Sif, for example, focused in Beauty, was created.

A 20 score in Beauty might make the character all but unattackable because her opponents like her. The public, upon learning she was in danger, would swarm whoever tried to harm her. Every hero in the land would rush to her defense. Even with no other high Ability Score the character would be able to do what she wants, whenever she wanted, and people would be happy to help her.

I chose to separate mental and physical Abilities. At this point nothing is written in stone, but my opinion at this time is that the ability to take a punch is not related to the ability to resist ESP.

As to Vulnerabilities: like Powers they should be defined by the player and adjudicated by the Administrator. How and where they come into play is up to them, and part of the character creation give-and-take is to reward players who have chosen Vulnerabilities which are easy to exploit with more Power.

This can be seen in my character Blaze. Anyone would think to spray her with a fire hose because that's how you put out fire. She's going to spend a lot of effort trying to avoid getting wet, and every villain is going to try to get her into a dunk tank. Her Vulnerability is easy to exploit, and as a consequence her Precision in the use of her power was bumped up. I had the advantage of being both player and Administrator in that process, so I might not get the same results if you were the Administrator to whom I proposed the character.

P.S. Blaze has another limitation on her powers. Ten plus-votes for the villain who recognizes it first!

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-23, 11:45 AM
The thing is, there are a hundred right ways to do a thing. At some point you have to pick one and go with it. While I'm not aware of any comic-book characters who are primarily Beauty-based, such a character would be hard to beat. Thor's strength is legendary, but what if a similarly powerful character, Sif, for example, focused in Beauty, was created.

A 20 score in Beauty might make the character all but unattackable because her opponents like her. The public, upon learning she was in danger, would swarm whoever tried to harm her. Every hero in the land would rush to her defense. Even with no other high Ability Score the character would be able to do what she wants, whenever she wanted, and people would be happy to help her.

See, I think you could equally well model Sif as someone with the Power: Incredible Beauty at Strength 20, much like how you handled hacking and magic skills. It seems that a character who is "all but unattackable because of her beauty" should function under similar defensive rules to someone who is "all but unattackable because of their forcefield", and that's essentially the main reason we defined Strength the way we did.


I chose to separate mental and physical Abilities. At this point nothing is written in stone, but my opinion at this time is that the ability to take a punch is not related to the ability to resist ESP.

Withholding judgement on this for now, until I see how combat works.

Note that ESP could represent a "hole" in someone's defenses, preventing them from using their powers (and Strength) to defend.


As to Vulnerabilities: like Powers they should be defined by the player and adjudicated by the Administrator. How and where they come into play is up to them, and part of the character creation give-and-take is to reward players who have chosen Vulnerabilities which are easy to exploit with more Power.

This can be seen in my character Blaze. Anyone would think to spray her with a fire hose because that's how you put out fire. She's going to spend a lot of effort trying to avoid getting wet, and every villain is going to try to get her into a dunk tank. Her Vulnerability is easy to exploit, and as a consequence her Precision in the use of her power was bumped up. I had the advantage of being both player and Administrator in that process, so I might not get the same results if you were the Administrator to whom I proposed the character.

Fair.


P.S. Blaze has another limitation on her powers. Ten plus-votes for the villain who recognizes it first!

Ooh!
Don't tell me, I like a puzzle.

(also, water douses her powers? Interesting- indicates that while fuel is not needed, oxygen is...)

My guess is cold- if she can't "boost" the temperature enough to start a self-sustaining reaction, she just tires herself out.

brian 333
2018-03-23, 12:05 PM
Sif's power is Fertility. She can make anything grow, flowers spontaneously spring up in her footsteps, and virgin girls have to explain sudden pregnancies to their long-suffering boyfriends.

Beauty as I have defined it, is an innate Ability requiring no conscious action on the part of the character or player. In this respect it is similar to Endurance: it's a stat to roll against when attempting to discredit or defame the hero.

As to Cold, nope. There is no such thing as Cold. We are warmer than snow, which is warmer than dry ice, which is warmer than hydrogen ice. We touch ice and detect the heat differential, which we interpret as cold.

Of course, that's not necessarily true in comic-books where heroes like Iceman and Fro-zone have cold powers.

redzimmer
2018-03-23, 12:09 PM
My guess is she has a super hyperactive metabolism and must constantly ingest high-sucrose paste to keep from falling asleep.

brian 333
2018-03-23, 12:21 PM
My guess is she has a super hyperactive metabolism and must constantly ingest high-sucrose paste to keep from falling asleep.

I wish I had thought of that! (That's a vulnerability for Honey B.)

Hint: it is explicitly stated in her descriptions.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-23, 12:28 PM
As to Cold, nope. There is no such thing as Cold. We are warmer than snow, which is warmer than dry ice, which is warmer than hydrogen ice. We touch ice and detect the heat differential, which we interpret as cold.

Of course, that's not necessarily true in comic-books where heroes like Iceman and Fro-zone have cold powers.
That's not quite what I meant.

Blaze is capable of intensifying fires easily, but I'm suggesting that her ability to generate them ex nihilo is reduced by low ambient temperatures:
If she can only spontaneously increase the temperature of things by up to 150 oC, for example, then she is capable of lighting wood on fire if the temperature is no lower than about 50 oC; her ability to generate them is thus reduced by cold environments. The colder it is, the more energy it takes for her to bring things to the burning point, effectively weakening her powers.

If it's not that, though...
Well, her clothes aren't protected, but that's not exactly a weakness.
If she can't react to something (like a bullet), she gets hit normally, but that's not what I would call a weakness, either.
She has somewhat lacking control over her powers, since she accidentally set someone on fire once.



Beauty as I have defined it, is an innate Ability requiring no conscious action on the part of the character or player. In this respect it is similar to Endurance: it's a stat to roll against when attempting to discredit or defame the hero.

Fair.

redzimmer
2018-03-24, 02:58 PM
Introduction

Book 1: Characters
***


Please PEACH the above while I start on Book 2: Conflict. Also to come is Book 3: Adventures

I will try as-is creating a character to see how it works.

redzimmer
2018-03-24, 04:10 PM
Where might we put such things as sentient equipment/animal companions/bonded spirits/etc?

Examples being the Black Knight's Ebony Blade/Kitty Pride's dragon Lockheed/Ronnie Raymond Firestorm's bond with Martin Stein.

I ask because I have the notion of a psionic octopus that needs to be fleshed out.

brian 333
2018-03-24, 04:47 PM
Such things are part of the Background or Description. Unless it is a separate character, Green Lantern's Ring, for example, it simply exists as an aspect of the character, its stats being the character's.

Part of Book 3 deals with Ability enhancing gear. This is like Iron Man's suit which grants Tony Stark his powers.

If it is a separate being then it has its own stats as a character. It is entirely possible to require a set of stats for the human, a set of stats for the suit, and a set of stats for when they combine. In such a case, the human may not be the one in charge, (as with Venom.)

But right now conflict is shaping up nicely, I just need time to playtest to see what I'm overlooking.

brian 333
2018-03-25, 01:06 PM
Book 2: Conflict

Superheroes fight, eventually, and the rules presented here offer a means of quickly resolving attacks and adjudicating defenses. But heroes also attempt many things not directly related to combat, and using the same set of rules to resolve challenges of all kinds eliminates the need for seperate skills, powers, and combat rules.

Keep in mind that this system divides characters by tiers. It must be recognized that Super Heroes are vastly more powerful than Humans. It is intended to keep fights fair between characters of the same tier, but quickly skew the odds toward characters of higher tiers.

2-1: What Do I Roll Now?

In this system every challenge uses one of the Ability scores, the Administrator dictating which one is most suitable, and adds to that the result of a single die. Which die is used is determined by the tier of the relevant Ability. (It might be wise to record the die appropriate to each Ability Score for quick reference.)

Weakling tier Abilities add 1d4
Human tier Abilities add 1d6
Extraordinary tier Abilities add 1d8
Hero tier Abilities add 1d10
Superhero tier Abilities add 1d12

2-2: Uncontested Rolls

When a character uses a power against an inanimate or unresisting target the Administrator determines the Difficulty of the task. When assigning Difficulty, the Administrator must consider the tier of power the intended target requires.
Weakling tier challenge would be a Difficulty of 4.
Human tier challenge would be Difficulty 7
Extraordinary tier challenges are Difficulty 13
Hero tier challenges are Difficulty 21
Superhero tier challenges are Difficulty 26

These are average for difficult tasks at each tier; the average character of that tier will fail 50% of such attempts. The Administrator must compare the difficulty of the intended tasks by the scale as presented in 1-1, and adjust for the intended Difficulty. As an example, using a Power at Weakling tier is comparable to failing to lift 50 pounds/25 kilo on half of all attempts. At Human level this is closer to 200 pounds/100 kilos. Extraordinary humans pull freight cars. Heroes pull freight trains against their will, and Superheroes hurl them into orbit. Well, 50% of the time, as these are considered to be right at the limits of what an Ability of the appropriate tier can accomplish.

Once the Administrator has declared the Difficulty of the intended task, the player rolls a single die, as discussed in 2-1, and adds the result to the character's relevant Ability Score. If this total equals or exceeds the Difficulty the task suceeds. The consequences of failure are situational. Your character may trip alarms, alert bystanders, or the act may be inconsequential, allowing multiple attempts.

2-3: Contested Rolls

When a character uses a power on a character which actively resists the act, the characters each make a roll for theit relevant Ability Score. The higher result succeeds, either shrugging off or deflecting the attack, or succeeding in the stated attempt.

A wise player seeks to maximize the advantage on offense and on defense, and will attempt to utilize the best Ability Score for every task. But in general, Strength-based attacks are contested by Endurance and Precision based attacks are countered by Reflex. Undaunted based attacks are defended using Undaunted, as Beauty similarly counters Beauty.

The Administrator sets the appropriate Attack and Defense in the case of players who disagree. In most cases it is obvious which Abilities are appropriate, but a player may suggest an alternative Ability Score is a more logical choice, and both players and Administrators should give such suggestions as much consideration as they deserve.

Once the relevant Ability Scores are established, the players or the player and the Administrator in the case of NPCs, roll simultaneously. The higher total succeeds, the lower fails.

2-4: What did I Accomplish?

Success in an attack or defense dictates that something happened in a way that is favorable to the successful character. Exactly what is subject to the many potential Powers of the characters. When Spider Man succeeds the target gets bound up in webbing, for example, while success for The Hulk indicates something got smashed.

It is important in 1-3: Define The Powers that the Player and Administrator clearly describe the intent of the use of a Power. Does it attack the mind? The body? What happens when an attack succeeds must be considered in the character creation process. Then in 1-5: Adjudication of Powers these effects are detailed in terms of the Game Rules.

For example, Hulk's Power directly harms the opponent physically, while Spidey's webs immobilize the victim.

This narrative result is further reflected in two possible outcomes: Injury and Overwhelm.

2-5 Injuries

Unless a Power is stated to have some other effect, the usual result of a successful Attack is an Injury to the Ability Score used to defend against the Attack. If the defender succeeds, that attack has no effect. An Injury temporarily reduces the affected Ability. Accumulating Injuries until the Ability Score reaches zero reduces the effectiveness of the injured Ability Score, so that later rolls use the Injured score, but the character continues to roll the same die no matter the degree of injury.

Some Attacks will always result in Injury to a particular Ability, no matter which Defense the character used. Guns, for example, use Precision to Attack, Reflex to Defend, but inflict Endurance Injuries. This is established in 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers.

A player may also attempt an uncommon use of the character's Powers to gain more favorable Attacks or Defenses, presenting different Abilities to support the effort. The Admin should be prepared to intervene either to allow or disallow such use, but should also be prepared to stand aside and allow players who are in agreement on which Ability Injures which to hash it out. In the case of NPCs, the Administrator should have established the effects of a successful use of a Power, and except for fun or humor, should not innovate on the fly.

2-6: Overwhelming Injuries

Some attacks are simply Overwhelming to the victim. When an Attack Roll exceeds the Defense Roll by two times or more, the Attack is considered Overwhelming, and the Defender's relevant Ability Score is temporarily reduced to zero. This most often occurs when characters of different tiers fight, but can also result from injuries.

As an example, The Flash can run through a room filled with Humans and tie them all up. The humans are considered Overwhelmed, with their Reflex Ability temporarily reduced to zero. If The Flash attempted the same against Wonder Woman she would have a much higher Reflex Ability Score, and The Flash would be far lesss likely to succeed in Overwhelming her.

2-7: Effects of Injuries

An Injury reduces an Ability Score by one for each Successful Attack, or to zero in the case of Overwhelming Injuries. The Ability Score uses the new value until it is further damaged or until it is restored. (Healing is detailed in Book 3.) Each Ability produces different results when weakened by Injuries. No matter how severe the Injury, a character always rolls the die appropriate to the tier of the relevant Ability, so a Superhero tier Ability always uses a d12 while a Weakling tier Ability always uses a d4, no matter its current temporary value.

Strength = Reduced capability with use of Powers. While some Powers scale, such as physical strength, others may require a minimum Strength Score to use. For example, the Admin may set the minimum Strength required to fly at 7, which is the minimum score for an Extraordinary Power. Dropping below this Strength score would render the character incapable of flight until the Strength Score is restored to 7 or more. This should be Adjudicated in 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers, so the player is aware of such limitations and can act appropriately.

(Optionally, if the character begins play as a novice hero, such limits can be 'discovered' through gameplay, but this does not relieve the Administrator of the obligation to Adjudicate the requirements for use of a particular Power.)

When a character reaches zero Strength, the character may not actively use Powers and is considered Fatigued.

Undaunted = Reduced mental capacity. Attacks which affect the mind or spirit render the character confused and disoriented. As with Strength, some Mental Powers have the ability to easily scale, while others may have minimum requirements to use. Again, 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers should clarify such issues. A character with a Power to cloud minds to avoid being seen might become visible when her Undaunted Ability drops below 5, for example.

When a character reaches zero Undaunted, the character may not actively use mind Powers, and is considered unconscious.

Precision = Reduced control of Powers. Attacks which require aiming or fine control in their use become less efficient. Some Powers may require a minimum degree of Precision to execute. For example, Superman can crush coal to produce diamonds, but this requires a degree of Precision to avoid reducing the coal to carbon vapor. Attempts below that degree of Precision result in something other than diamonds.

When Precision is reduced to zero the character is no longer in control of Powers. If a Power can be used in a brute force method this might have an insignificant impact, but any attempt to exert any control over the use of the Power will fail. Whether this produces a null result or a disaster is highly dependent upon the Power in question and how it is adjudicated.

Endurance = Reduced capacity to withstand physical attacks. Attacks which directly impact the body or Aura Of Power affect Endurance, and reduced Endurance results in less capacity to deflect or shrug off physical attacks.

When Injuries temporarily reduce the character's Endurance to zero, the character is incapable of any physical action more demanding than crawling under cover or writhing in pain.

Reflex = Reduced capacity to anticipate and avoid attacks. Attacks which can be dodged become more difficult to avoid as the Reflex Ability is reduced. Attempting but failing to dodge such an attack affects the Reflex Ability. An example of this is the cumulative effect of being entangled in Spider Man's webbing.

When Injuries temporarily reduce the character's Reflex Ability to zero, the character is immobilized.

Beauty = Reduced capability of gaining aid from the public. Sometimes the best way to beat a hero is to defame or humiliate the hero. Attacks which affect the credibility or popularity of a character may temporarily reduce Beauty, and thus weaken the character's standing in the society.

Characters reduced to zero Beauty are treated as untrustworthy, their every utterance treated as lies, their motives always attributed to malicious intent by the general public. Police and/or military forces will be given capture or kill orders regarding such characters, and they will be considered wanted criminals.

2-8: Life Below Zero

When an Ability is temporarily reduced to zero, the fight may not be over. Even at zero, the defender continues to be entitled to the roll of the relevant die for the affected ability, even though attacks using that ability are no longer allowed. However, Injuries cannot reduce Abilities, even temporarily, below zero. In such cases the most logical ability which is above zero is affected. This may result in the affected character being quickly Overwhelmed due to her lack of anything to add to the die roll used to resist the attack.

Absent any logical 'next' Ability to affect, Strength is typically affected. For example, Ghost Rider, in confronting a character with his own evil, reduces the character to an Undaunted score of zero. Should he continue his attack beyond rendering the character unconscious, the character's Strength is the next most logical Ability to be affected, thus reducing or eliminating her ability to lash out with a Power in an unconscious attack.

When a character reaches zero in any three abilities the character is comatose and can no longer act either offensively or defesively. Even Beauty, which some players will argue has no physical effect, takes a psychic toll on the character, reducing her will to continue resisting.

2-9: The Rule Of Logic And Fun

In order to present a simple, flexible ruleset for resolving conflict, it is necessary to avoid complex situational rules or the creation of combat tables with exceptions and multiple bonuses which are situationally applied. Using the system as presented will allow fast and easy calculations of Difficulties and Challenges, but there are inevitably going to be situations which seem to defy the rules.

Rather than construct additional rules to cover the exceptions, the Rule Of Logic should seek a solution within the ruleset to quickly resolve the issue. If it is an issue which re-occurs then consideration might be given to introducing a house rule to cover the situation. However, the Rule Of Fun should be applied to allow things which have entertainment value or to eliminate things which produce arguments or confusion. Between the extremes there is a vast middle ground, and players and Administrators should seek that middle ground to quickly resolve issues which arise to which no exact rule applies.

2-10: The Combat Round

During a Combat Round, the character with the highest Reflex Ability goes first, and may take an action or hold actions until the character chooses to act. Tied Reflex Scores allow rolling a challenge, (Reflex vs. Reflex.) If the die roll also results in a tie, the characters act simultaneously, and both apply Injuries at the same time, at the end of their actions.

Thereafter, each character is entitled to an action taken in the order their respective Reflex Ability Score dictates.

A character whose action is to hold acting may choose to act at the end of a round, or may continue to hold into the following round, thereby gaining the advantage of interrupting the round at will to take the held action when desired. Some Powers maybe linked to hold actions, such as Goku's use of his Spirit Bomb Power, which requires many rounds to fully power up.

If two characters choose to simultaneously declare their held actions, a Reflex Challenge resolves the issue of who goes first. Of course, the winner of the challenge may choose to go second, and may continue to hold her action until then. As above, identical results on the reflex roll indicate that both characters act simultaneously, and any injuries are inflicted simultaneously at the end of the action.

Once every character has had an opportunity to act and all related issues are resolved, the next round may begin. Exactly what a character can do in a round is largely dictated by the character's Power and the tier of its relevant Ability. Using 'Super Speed' as an example, a character with Weakling tier Ability is likely to go last every round. A Human would be able to fire a gun once. An Extraordinary Human tier Ability might disarm a shooter before he can fire the weapon. A Hero might be able to remove the bullets from the gun before it is fired, and a Superhero is likely able to remove all the bullets from everyone's gun in a single action.

When creating the character, part of 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers is to describe the extent of what can be done in a single action.

***

Okay, that will need some clarification because I'm certain I missed some things along the way. One thing I intend for Book 3 is a detailed description of the tiers both to clarify issues which arise from the rules and to help make adventure building easier.

It's time to finish tweaking those Character Builds and playtest. (Blaze gets her butt kicked or wins very quickly. TK Lad was probably not the optimal choice for her opponent because he and she are very similar in being focused to optimize their Powers, making them very weak in resisting the powers of others.)

brian 333
2018-03-25, 10:29 PM
Blaze under the new system, without the fluff

Powers:

Extinguish fire, maximum range 1 mile, maximum radius 1 mile. 10 Strength required.

Ignite fire, maximum range line of sight, maximum effect limited by current Strength, Target effect uses Precision
Weakling = kitchen match, Human = torch, Extraordinary Human = bonfire, Hero = large house, small appartment building, (she has never attempted igniting fires of this size or larger.) She can make any but non-flammable materials burn. Even metals which rust or corrode can be burned, and fires can be created with no fuel upon which to feed. Items which are difficult to burn are increased by one Difficulty Category, so that a match-sized flame burning iron is a Hjman level of difficulty, and fires with no fuel are increased by 2 Difficulty Categories, requiring an Extraordinary Difficulty challenge to succeed in creating a match-sized flame to hover in mid air.

Control Fire, maximum range line of sight, maximum effect limited by current Strength, degree of control limited by current Precision. The character can cause flames to jump, fly, or move in patterns as she dictates. The volume of fire she manipulates determines the Difficulty, and is identical to the volumes listed above.

Self Immolation, maximum range self only. Minimum Strength 8. Sets flamable material on fire within 5 feet, melts or burns objects by touch. While immolated, can incenerate 10 feet thick wood barrier per round, 3 foot thick stone, 1 foot thick soft metal, or 1 inch hard metal. She cannot burn ceramics designed to withstand heat. These values assume full Strength, and her capacity to burn is reduced when her Strength is reduced.

Flying, only alllowed while immolated, minimum Strength 8. Current Precision is used to control flight. Her maximum speed is subsonic. Attempting to break the sound barrier snuffs her flames. Her acceleration is rapid, going from motionless to her desired speed in a single round assuming full Strength. Reduced Strength reduces acceleration, but not top speed.

Vulberabilities:

She cannot control flames when wet. She does not sweat, but even incidental wetness, say from a spilled drink, negates her ability to extinguish, ignite, or control flames, and she cannot self immolate.

When successfully attacked with water while immolated, the attack does not extinguish her flames unless she is overwhelmed, but it temporarily reduces her Strength.

She must be able to see her target to ignite it or to control flames. This does not apply to her Power to Extinguish Flames.

Abilities:

Strength 14 (Hero, d10)
Undaunted 4 (Human, d6)
Precision 16 (Superhero, d12)
Endurance 4 (Human, d6)
Reflex 6 (Extraordinary Human d8)
Beauty 4 (Human, d6)


***

I've given paragraphs where much simpler notes would be enough on a character sheet, after a discussion with the Administrator about what each Power can do.

redzimmer
2018-03-26, 02:29 AM
Can we do up a completed single-post version of these beta-version creation rules so I can put them on the first page?

brian 333
2018-03-26, 11:54 AM
The intent of this game is to create a very simple set of rules to administer and play a game of comic-book hero fantasy. Since comic book heroes range from ordinary humans to world-devouring super beings, the ruleset must be flexible, but players and administrators alike must keep in mind that weaker heroes face opponents of more or less equivalent power while even superheroes can be challenged.

Thus players should not expect to face Apocalypse unless their character is of equivalent power, and Administrators should not create adventures suitable for Robin for player characters of Superman's stature.



Player Characters are heroic in some fashion. Perhaps they are ordinary humans with some technology that makes them superior, such as Iron Man or Venom, or perhaps they wield innate super powers, but these characters are special in some way.

Most have some vulnerability, the severity of which tends to scale with their power such as Batman's dependence upon preparation and having what he needs in his utility belt or Superman being paralyzed in the presence of kryptonite.

The same applies to the villains these heroes encounter, though perhaps less so to their henchmen. Players should ultimately expect to face characters which challenge their character, exploit their character's weakness, and manipulate the situation to their advantage, and the player should be ready to do the same.



The Administrator builds the adventure, and is therefore responsible for establishing the Power Ranking of the characters. This is important because a challenge for The Hulk would be impossible for Nightwing to defeat in combat. Both characters are heroic, but they fight on vastly different scales.

The Power Ranks are listed below, from weakest to most powerful:
Weakling (Shaggy from Scooby Doo)
Human (Tony Stark from Iron Man)
Extraordinary Human (Robin from Batman)
Hero (Storm from X-Men)
Super Hero (Super Man)

When creating the character both Player and Administrator must keep the Power Ranking in mind. Certain abilities, such as the ability to fly, might be Hero Rank powers. For example, Tony Stark cannot fly without an Iron Man suit, Robin can glide or parachute using his cape, but Storm can fly at will. Players should design their characters with this in mind and collaborate with the Administrator to insure the character ultimately conforms to the established Power Ranking of the adventure.



In this phase of the character creation process the player creates the background for the character, explaining the origin of the character's powers, motivations, and vulnerabilities.The murder of Batman's parents motivated him to become a crime solver, while Superman's birth on Krypton explains his powers and vulnerability to Kryptonite.

Keep in mind that many comic-book heroes have multiple origin stories, such as the several Green Lanterns. Revisions at a later time can simply be retconned and assumed to have always been or they can come as dramatic in character reveals, such as **** Grayson's discovery that his parent's 'accident' was the result of Batman failing to prevent their murder.



In this phase the player declares the powers of the character in collaboration with the Administrator. Keep in mind that some powers easily scale while others are innately very powerful or very weak. Laser Beam Eyes might scale from laser pointer to orbital bombardment laser, while Flatulent Cloud Emission is subject to airflow and wind direction. Both player and Administrator should be prepared to compromise.

Keep in mind that many super heroes grow in power as they go from adventure to adventure, such as the ever-increasing power of the Iron Man suit, so a power rejected in this phase as too powerful might be 'discovered' as the character grows.

Some examples by Power Ranking:
Weakling = Jubilee from X-Men Cartoon. Weakling powers are mostly comic relief, but occasionally can be quite powerful in their result. Imagine Jubilee touching Iron Man...
Human = The Joker from Batman. Human level powers tend to be ordinary abilities taken to an extreme such as The Joker's diabolical genius.
Extraordinary Human = Green Arrow. Extraordinary powers are beyond typical human capacity, but do not require exotic origins. Green Arrow's precision is augmented with a variety of technologies, but do not require his having been born on Arrowtron.
Hero = Cyclops. Heroic powers are powerful, but very often thematic or limited in versatility. When Cyclops takes off his glasses something explodes, which pretty much limits his usefulness to battlefields. More generic heroic powers may be versatile but less lowerful, such as Mr. Fantastic's elasticity.
Superhero = The Incredible Hulk. Virtually impossible to injure and capable of inflicting massive damage, such beings are only limited by their vulnerabilities, such as The Hulk's need to find a place to rest after his rage abates. (For some reason this always seems to be where it's raining.)

Characters with multiple powers may be too powerful for the Power Ranking of the campaign, and players should expect that the capacity of such powers will be reduced, or that the Administrator will limit the number of powers a character can have. The Swiss Army Knife character should expect to sacrifice power for versatility, but Administrators should consider allowing characters with focused thematic abilities which have limited usefulness to maximize that one power.



Comic-book heroes tend to be vulnerable to something, and the more powerful characters have more debilitating vulnerabilities. The Human ranked Indiana Jones hates snakes, but they have no effect other than to squick him out, while Superman, exposed to kryptonite, becomes helpless. Defining the weakness(es) of characters should be thematically linked, such as Batman's dependency on his Utility Belt, and they should scale with the Power Ranking of the character.

Administrators should reward players who devise weaknesses which might plausibly come into play. Achilles having a vulnerability directly related to his greatest power, (minor scratch on his heel kills him, but the rest of his body cannot be pierced,) is an example of linking vulnerability and strength.

Obscure or inconsequential weaknesses should be rejected or modified. Peanut Allergy might be an appropriate vulnerability for a Weakling, but would not serve as a vulnerability for The Hulk, (and would have no thematic link anyway.) A vulnerability which disables a hero in the presence of the Mona Lisa would be difficult to invoke unless the hero only fights Art Thief, who regularly targets The Louvre. In general, the vulnerabilities of characters should be as powerful as their power.

It is expected that the character will attempt to conceal vulnerabilities.



In this stage the Administrator is responsible for setting the limits of the character's powers. The primary goal is to help the player's character conform to the adventure's Power Ranking. In this it is important for the Administrator to uphold the spirit of the player's intent, so the player gets, in the end, the character she imagined.

Some powers are easily scaleable such as Laser Beam Eyes. The Administrator coulr rule that Weaklings with Laser Beam Eyes are the equivalent of laser pointers, Humans have Flaslight eyes, Extraordinary Humans could boil water or remove tattoos, Heroes burn holes in things and Super Heroes vaporize whatever they can see. Some powers such as Thunder Punch might have a minimum Power Ranking, such that only Heroes could manifest them.

In this the Administrator is aided by Character Abilities. Abilities define the powers in terms of game mechanics, and are used to determine success or failure of the intended use. In determining the Power Ranking of the acventure, the Administrator must dictate the Power Ranking of each of the six Abilities, from Weakling to Super Hero. Adventures which have higher Power Ranking should allow multiple Heroic or Super Heroic Abilities, while lower Power Ranking adventures would require limits on such abilities. Characters which are extremely focused and self limited by their choice of powers or vulnerabilities should be rewarded with one or two Abilities exceeding the campaign norm, while characters which can do everything should be similarly limited by reducing the highest Power Ranking Abilities.

For Example, suppose Laser Lad has only Laser Vision. The Administrator might reward him by upgrading his Precision Ability to the next higher Power Ranking due to his self-limiting choice of power. Meanwhile, General Girl can do everything every comic-book hero can do. The Administrator would be justified in reducing the Abilities of the highest Power Ranking for this character.

Abilities are not physical attributes, but measures of the character's control of and resistance to Powers. Humans have very poor performance in those areas while Super Heroes have incredible performance. The scale ranges from 1 to 20.

1-2 = Weakling (1d2) equal to a small monkey
3-5 = Human (1d3+2) equal to a normal human
6-9 = Extraordinary Human (1d4+5) equal to the strength of a motor vehicle
10-14 = Hero (1d5+9) equal to the strength of a battleship
15-20 = Super Hero (1d6+14) equal to the strength of a Death Star

Note: Alternative means of deriving Ability Scores will be presented later.

The six Abilities are:
Strength - relative strength of the hero's Powers
Undaunted - ability to resist or exert mental control
Precision - ability to exert fine control in the use of the hero's Powers
Endurance - ability to resist physical injuries or to sustain activities over time
Reflex - ability to react to threats or avoid them
Beauty - ability to manipulate the public's perception of the hero

Note: Further explanation of and the use of Abilities will be discussed in Book 3.



In this phase the character generates not only a physical description of her character, but such things as aliases, secret identities, lairs, friends and family, and other details which turn the character from a set of stats and powers into a character. Obviously, wealth might be an issue for technology dependant characters, and Administrators may impose limits both for reasons of game balance and characterization. A character with a background of a train-hopping hobo won't have wealth, while a normal human with super-powered technologies require a lot simply to maintain their status as heroes.

While this phase is driven by the player, the Administrator should exert her authority to limit the choices players make for their characters. A character with infinite wealth might be an issue for an adventure, but the Administrator might consider tying that wealth to a trust fund which allows the character to maintain a secret laboratory, but not to buy every super-suit on the market.

Finally, at this point it may be necessary to review the Background of the character to incorporate changes from the original intent to the character as finalized. This is not intended as a retcon, but a clarification based on the ideas which emerged in the creation process.


***



Superheroes fight, eventually, and the rules presented here offer a means of quickly resolving attacks and adjudicating defenses. But heroes also attempt many things not directly related to combat, and using the same set of rules to resolve challenges of all kinds eliminates the need for seperate skills, powers, and combat rules.

Keep in mind that this system divides characters by tiers. It must be recognized that Super Heroes are vastly more powerful than Humans. It is intended to keep fights fair between characters of the same tier, but quickly skew the odds toward characters of higher tiers.



In this system every challenge uses one of the Ability scores, the Administrator dictating which one is most suitable, and adds to that the result of a single die. Which die is used is determined by the tier of the relevant Ability. (It might be wise to record the die appropriate to each Ability Score for quick reference.)

Weakling tier Abilities add 1d4
Human tier Abilities add 1d6
Extraordinary tier Abilities add 1d8
Hero tier Abilities add 1d10
Superhero tier Abilities add 1d12



When a character uses a power against an inanimate or unresisting target the Administrator determines the Difficulty of the task. When assigning Difficulty, the Administrator must consider the tier of power the intended target requires.
Weakling tier challenge would be a Difficulty of 4.
Human tier challenge would be Difficulty 7
Extraordinary tier challenges are Difficulty 13
Hero tier challenges are Difficulty 21
Superhero tier challenges are Difficulty 26

These are average for difficult tasks at each tier; the average character of that tier will fail 50% of such attempts. The Administrator must compare the difficulty of the intended tasks by the scale as presented in 1-1, and adjust for the intended Difficulty. As an example, using a Power at Weakling tier is comparable to failing to lift 50 pounds/25 kilo on half of all attempts. At Human level this is closer to 200 pounds/100 kilos. Extraordinary humans pull freight cars. Heroes pull freight trains against their will, and Superheroes hurl them into orbit. Well, 50% of the time, as these are considered to be right at the limits of what an Ability of the appropriate tier can accomplish.

Once the Administrator has declared the Difficulty of the intended task, the player rolls a single die, as discussed in 2-1, and adds the result to the character's relevant Ability Score. If this total equals or exceeds the Difficulty the task suceeds. The consequences of failure are situational. Your character may trip alarms, alert bystanders, or the act may be inconsequential, allowing multiple attempts.



When a character uses a power on a character which actively resists the act, the characters each make a roll for theit relevant Ability Score. The higher result succeeds, either shrugging off or deflecting the attack, or succeeding in the stated attempt.

A wise player seeks to maximize the advantage on offense and on defense, and will attempt to utilize the best Ability Score for every task. But in general, Strength-based attacks are contested by Endurance and Precision based attacks are countered by Reflex. Undaunted based attacks are defended using Undaunted, as Beauty similarly counters Beauty.

The Administrator sets the appropriate Attack and Defense in the case of players who disagree. In most cases it is obvious which Abilities are appropriate, but a player may suggest an alternative Ability Score is a more logical choice, and both players and Administrators should give such suggestions as much consideration as they deserve.

Once the relevant Ability Scores are established, the players or the player and the Administrator in the case of NPCs, roll simultaneously. The higher total succeeds, the lower fails.



Success in an attack or defense dictates that something happened in a way that is favorable to the successful character. Exactly what is subject to the many potential Powers of the characters. When Spider Man succeeds the target gets bound up in webbing, for example, while success for The Hulk indicates something got smashed.

It is important in 1-3: Define The Powers that the Player and Administrator clearly describe the intent of the use of a Power. Does it attack the mind? The body? What happens when an attack succeeds must be considered in the character creation process. Then in 1-5: Adjudication of Powers these effects are detailed in terms of the Game Rules.

For example, Hulk's Power directly harms the opponent physically, while Spidey's webs immobilize the victim.

This narrative result is further reflected in two possible outcomes: Injury and Overwhelm.



Unless a Power is stated to have some other effect, the usual result of a successful Attack is an Injury to the Ability Score used to defend against the Attack. If the defender succeeds, that attack has no effect. An Injury temporarily reduces the affected Ability. Accumulating Injuries until the Ability Score reaches zero reduces the effectiveness of the injured Ability Score, so that later rolls use the Injured score, but the character continues to roll the same die no matter the degree of injury.

Some Attacks will always result in Injury to a particular Ability, no matter which Defense the character used. Guns, for example, use Precision to Attack, Reflex to Defend, but inflict Endurance Injuries. This is established in 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers.

A player may also attempt an uncommon use of the character's Powers to gain more favorable Attacks or Defenses, presenting different Abilities to support the effort. The Admin should be prepared to intervene either to allow or disallow such use, but should also be prepared to stand aside and allow players who are in agreement on which Ability Injures which to hash it out. In the case of NPCs, the Administrator should have established the effects of a successful use of a Power, and except for fun or humor, should not innovate on the fly.



Some attacks are simply Overwhelming to the victim. When an Attack Roll exceeds the Defense Roll by two times or more, the Attack is considered Overwhelming, and the Defender's relevant Ability Score is temporarily reduced to zero. This most often occurs when characters of different tiers fight, but can also result from injuries.

As an example, The Flash can run through a room filled with Humans and tie them all up. The humans are considered Overwhelmed, with their Reflex Ability temporarily reduced to zero. If The Flash attempted the same against Wonder Woman she would have a much higher Reflex Ability Score, and The Flash would be far lesss likely to succeed in Overwhelming her.



An Injury reduces an Ability Score by one for each Successful Attack, or to zero in the case of Overwhelming Injuries. The Ability Score uses the new value until it is further damaged or until it is restored. (Healing is detailed in Book 3.) Each Ability produces different results when weakened by Injuries. No matter how severe the Injury, a character always rolls the die appropriate to the tier of the relevant Ability, so a Superhero tier Ability always uses a d12 while a Weakling tier Ability always uses a d4, no matter its current temporary value.

Strength = Reduced capability with use of Powers. While some Powers scale, such as physical strength, others may require a minimum Strength Score to use. For example, the Admin may set the minimum Strength required to fly at 7, which is the minimum score for an Extraordinary Power. Dropping below this Strength score would render the character incapable of flight until the Strength Score is restored to 7 or more. This should be Adjudicated in 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers, so the player is aware of such limitations and can act appropriately.

(Optionally, if the character begins play as a novice hero, such limits can be 'discovered' through gameplay, but this does not relieve the Administrator of the obligation to Adjudicate the requirements for use of a particular Power.)

When a character reaches zero Strength, the character may not actively use Powers and is considered Fatigued.

Undaunted = Reduced mental capacity. Attacks which affect the mind or spirit render the character confused and disoriented. As with Strength, some Mental Powers have the ability to easily scale, while others may have minimum requirements to use. Again, 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers should clarify such issues. A character with a Power to cloud minds to avoid being seen might become visible when her Undaunted Ability drops below 5, for example.

When a character reaches zero Undaunted, the character may not actively use mind Powers, and is considered unconscious.

Precision = Reduced control of Powers. Attacks which require aiming or fine control in their use become less efficient. Some Powers may require a minimum degree of Precision to execute. For example, Superman can crush coal to produce diamonds, but this requires a degree of Precision to avoid reducing the coal to carbon vapor. Attempts below that degree of Precision result in something other than diamonds.

When Precision is reduced to zero the character is no longer in control of Powers. If a Power can be used in a brute force method this might have an insignificant impact, but any attempt to exert any control over the use of the Power will fail. Whether this produces a null result or a disaster is highly dependent upon the Power in question and how it is adjudicated.

Endurance = Reduced capacity to withstand physical attacks. Attacks which directly impact the body or Aura Of Power affect Endurance, and reduced Endurance results in less capacity to deflect or shrug off physical attacks.

When Injuries temporarily reduce the character's Endurance to zero, the character is incapable of any physical action more demanding than crawling under cover or writhing in pain.

Reflex = Reduced capacity to anticipate and avoid attacks. Attacks which can be dodged become more difficult to avoid as the Reflex Ability is reduced. Attempting but failing to dodge such an attack affects the Reflex Ability. An example of this is the cumulative effect of being entangled in Spider Man's webbing.

When Injuries temporarily reduce the character's Reflex Ability to zero, the character is immobilized.

Beauty = Reduced capability of gaining aid from the public. Sometimes the best way to beat a hero is to defame or humiliate the hero. Attacks which affect the credibility or popularity of a character may temporarily reduce Beauty, and thus weaken the character's standing in the society.

Characters reduced to zero Beauty are treated as untrustworthy, their every utterance treated as lies, their motives always attributed to malicious intent by the general public. Police and/or military forces will be given capture or kill orders regarding such characters, and they will be considered wanted criminals.



When an Ability is temporarily reduced to zero, the fight may not be over. Even at zero, the defender continues to be entitled to the roll of the relevant die for the affected ability, even though attacks using that ability are no longer allowed. However, Injuries cannot reduce Abilities, even temporarily, below zero. In such cases the most logical ability which is above zero is affected. This may result in the affected character being quickly Overwhelmed due to her lack of anything to add to the die roll used to resist the attack.

Absent any logical 'next' Ability to affect, Strength is typically affected. For example, Ghost Rider, in confronting a character with his own evil, reduces the character to an Undaunted score of zero. Should he continue his attack beyond rendering the character unconscious, the character's Strength is the next most logical Ability to be affected, thus reducing or eliminating her ability to lash out with a Power in an unconscious attack.

When a character reaches zero in any three abilities the character is comatose and can no longer act either offensively or defesively. Even Beauty, which some players will argue has no physical effect, takes a psychic toll on the character, reducing her will to continue resisting.



In order to present a simple, flexible ruleset for resolving conflict, it is necessary to avoid complex situational rules or the creation of combat tables with exceptions and multiple bonuses which are situationally applied. Using the system as presented will allow fast and easy calculations of Difficulties and Challenges, but there are inevitably going to be situations which seem to defy the rules.

Rather than construct additional rules to cover the exceptions, the Rule Of Logic should seek a solution within the ruleset to quickly resolve the issue. If it is an issue which re-occurs then consideration might be given to introducing a house rule to cover the situation. However, the Rule Of Fun should be applied to allow things which have entertainment value or to eliminate things which produce arguments or confusion. Between the extremes there is a vast middle ground, and players and Administrators should seek that middle ground to quickly resolve issues which arise to which no exact rule applies.



During a Combat Round, the character with the highest Reflex Ability goes first, and may take an action or hold actions until the character chooses to act. Tied Reflex Scores allow rolling a challenge, (Reflex vs. Reflex.) If the die roll also results in a tie, the characters act simultaneously, and both apply Injuries at the same time, at the end of their actions.

Thereafter, each character is entitled to an action taken in the order their respective Reflex Ability Score dictates.

A character whose action is to hold acting may choose to act at the end of a round, or may continue to hold into the following round, thereby gaining the advantage of interrupting the round at will to take the held action when desired. Some Powers maybe linked to hold actions, such as Goku's use of his Spirit Bomb Power, which requires many rounds to fully power up.

If two characters choose to simultaneously declare their held actions, a Reflex Challenge resolves the issue of who goes first. Of course, the winner of the challenge may choose to go second, and may continue to hold her action until then. As above, identical results on the reflex roll indicate that both characters act simultaneously, and any injuries are inflicted simultaneously at the end of the action.

Once every character has had an opportunity to act and all related issues are resolved, the next round may begin. Exactly what a character can do in a round is largely dictated by the character's Power and the tier of its relevant Ability. Using 'Super Speed' as an example, a character with Weakling tier Ability is likely to go last every round. A Human would be able to fire a gun once. An Extraordinary Human tier Ability might disarm a shooter before he can fire the weapon. A Hero might be able to remove the bullets from the gun before it is fired, and a Superhero is likely able to remove all the bullets from everyone's gun in a single action.

When creating the character, part of 1-5: Adjudication Of Powers is to describe the extent of what can be done in a single action.

***

redzimmer
2018-03-26, 12:11 PM
Perfect. Thanks

brian 333
2018-03-26, 11:08 PM
Any Peach of Book 2? This thread got quiet fast!

So far, Book 3 deals with

explaining tiers/power rankings, (same thing, but editing is a ways away)
Npcs
Optional stat generation
Improving stats through experience
How to set Difficulties for uncontested rolls

Adjudication of the character creation process/the character sheet

The game world


Are there any topics I'moverlooking?

redzimmer
2018-03-27, 02:33 AM
Am stay-home Dad for Spring Break so am limited online this week.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-27, 01:07 PM
First note:
Managing damage as per-stat

I'd like to eyeball some numbers.
Specifically, checking how different Tiers square up against each other, and against the difficulty numbers presented.

Copying selected sections for easy reference:

1-2 = Weakling (1d2) equal to a small monkey
3-5 = Human (1d3+2) equal to a normal human
6-9 = Extraordinary Human (1d4+5) equal to the strength of a motor vehicle
10-14 = Hero (1d5+9) equal to the strength of a battleship
15-20 = Super Hero (1d6+14) equal to the strength of a Death Star

I note the variance within a tier is half the variance of the die size attached to the tier.

Weakling tier Abilities add 1d4
Human tier Abilities add 1d6
Extraordinary tier Abilities add 1d8
Hero tier Abilities add 1d10
Superhero tier Abilities add 1d12

Weakling tier challenge would be a Difficulty of 4.
Human tier challenge would be Difficulty 7
Extraordinary tier challenges are Difficulty 13
Hero tier challenges are Difficulty 21
Superhero tier challenges are Difficulty 26

the average character of that tier will fail 50% of such attempts.
This is not true. For example, the average Human character has a stat of 4, so he rolls 1d6+4; he equals or exceeds a Human tier DC on a roll of 3 or better, which is a 66% chance of success.

I ran some Anydice calculations
For the following calculations, I assumed each character has the minimum stat for their tier.
A Weakling beats a Human 4% of the time, and ties 8% of the time
A Human beats an Exceptional stat 6% of the time, and ties 6% of the time.
An Extraordinary beats a Hero stat 7% of the time, and ties 5% of the time/
A Hero beats a Superhero 8% of the time, and ties 4% of the time.

For calculations assuming the lower character is at the highest point in their tier, but the higher tier character is at the lowest stat in their tier:
A Superhero beats a Hero 62% of the time, and ties 7% of the time.
A Hero beats an Exceptional 65% of the time, and ties 9% of the time
Exceptional vs. Human: 69% of the time.

A 1-point stat difference represents an advantage of:
6% at Exceptional level
5% at Hero tier
4% at Superhero level.
This indicates that damage is not particularly meaningful at that level, between the increased die size and the lowered value of individual die rolls.

Other notes:
I would expect someone at 0 Endurance to be dead. In fact, I don't see a method of actually dying in combat. Is this intentional?
Could you elaborate on this line:
When a character reaches zero Strength, the character may not actively use Powers and is considered Fatigued.

Missing description of what kinds of attacks affect Strength- this would be a good place to call back to the Vulnerabilities section, for example.

In general, I would like a line in each section saying "Attacks which do X damage this stat.", helping to distinguish between Reflex and Precision, for example.

redzimmer
2018-03-27, 01:17 PM
A Hero beats an Extraordinary stat 7% of the time, and ties 5% of the time/
A Superhero beats a Hero 8% of the time, and ties 4% of the time.

Weíre those transposed?

I just want to make sure Iím keeping up.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-27, 01:37 PM
They were not transposed.
You can see here:
http://anydice.com/program/f496
Go to "At most" mode, and look at the line for -1.
This is superhero vs. hero calculations.

redzimmer
2018-03-27, 01:45 PM
They were not transposed.
You can see here:
http://anydice.com/program/f496
Go to "At most" mode, and look at the line for -1.
This is superhero vs. hero calculations.

Just being sure

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-27, 01:47 PM
Oh, wait, d'oh.
Yes.

I misunderstood what you were asking.

brian 333
2018-03-27, 02:13 PM
@aimlessPolymath:

Excellent analysis, and you can see where my broadside calculations for 50% success was centered. You have anticipated a significant portion of Book 3, which is calculating Difficulty. I intended to calculate a minimum, where all characters of the power ranking succeed, a maximum, where all characters of that power ranking fail, and a median, where the average stat at each tier is calculated, (rather than eyeballed as I did because for me math requires a pencil in hand.)

The die roll is a significant variable, intended to allow characters of lower power ranking to succeed against challenges at the low end of the next higher power ranking while allowing those of the appropriate rank to sometimes fail. Of course, this also allows heroes to fly through human challenges, and Extraordinary Humans to easily overcome Weakling challenges without affecting the Difficulty such tasks pose for characters of the appropriate power rank.

As for which stat affects what, I don't want a set-in-stone type of rock-paper-scissors. The reason is because of the variability of potential powers and their effects. For example, when The Hulk attacks you with his Strength, your Endurance is injured. When Rogue attacks you with her Strength your Strength is injured.

Another section of Book 3 deals with Adjudication of Powers, and this is the stage at which a player and Administrator decide the effects of the powers. So, as in the example of Blaze, her use of power to attack requires a Precision versus Reflex roll to hit, but injures affect the target's Endurance.

Having gone back and re-read my example, I see I neglected to finish the sentence, I probably went back to correct a typo and forgot to finish the line. My mistake. However, the Adjudication Of Powers is supposed to describe the powers and their effects, allowing for a variety of potential effects from a limited number of Abilities.

As for x damage, x=1 unless the character is overwhelmed. If Hulk hits Blaze, she will be overwhelmed. If Hulk hits Superman, Soup might feel it, but one hit won't take him out. Superman could presumably take up to 20 direct hits from Hulk, who could take 20 from Superman. Of course, their other powers might come into play during that fight, but that's another argument having nothing to do with the point.

The idea being that we're dealing with comic book heroes and villains, and a fight should last long enough for a few die rolls, but should not require a spreadsheet to track what happens.

This is the same reason there is no rule about death and dying. Of course, if your character is unconscious, immobilized, or fatigued, she can be killed. But comic book heroes only die when the story allows it. Otherwise, overwhelmed characters tend to leave the field of battle one way or another. Death is a rare result of Superhero combat.

Note: add section on death to Book 3. (Excellent catch, Poly)

redzimmer
2018-03-27, 03:06 PM
And that will segue into world-building, in regards to means of prolonging life, cheating death, clones, Lazarus pits, alternate universes, etc.

aimlessPolymath
2018-03-29, 08:15 PM
As for x damage, x=1 unless the character is overwhelmed. If Hulk hits Blaze, she will be overwhelmed. If Hulk hits Superman, Soup might feel it, but one hit won't take him out. Superman could presumably take up to 20 direct hits from Hulk, who could take 20 from Superman. Of course, their other powers might come into play during that fight, but that's another argument having nothing to do with the point.

The idea being that we're dealing with comic book heroes and villains, and a fight should last long enough for a few die rolls, but should not require a spreadsheet to track what happens.


My problem with this is that this is significantly more than "a few" dice rolls- 20 direct hits requires, at minimum, 40 rolls. Assuming that they take turns in order, that's at least 80 rolls for the whole encounter.

Higher level fights take far, far longer than low level fights, and something should be done to deal with this. Recall 2-10:

A Human would be able to fire a gun once. An Extraordinary Human tier Ability might disarm a shooter before he can fire the weapon. A Hero might be able to remove the bullets from the gun before it is fired, and a Superhero is likely able to remove all the bullets from everyone's gun in a single action.
Superman can take 20 direct hits from Hulk, and vice versa, but there's no reason that each of those 20 hits must be a separate roll and a separate turn.

Consider the following:
From my previous calculations, if two characters are a full tier (i.e. mid Superhero vs. mid Hero, low Exceptional vs. low Hero) away from each other, there's less than a 10% chance of the lower character affecting the higher character.
Therefore, in many cases, if two characters are in different tiers, it is virtually impossible (practically) for your stat to affect the higher statted person.

Consider the situation where two characters are fighting. Each of them are using two stats, one to attack and one to defend. Each has one stat that is being damaged.

Then there are two meaningful situations:
-A stat that is not in use is being damaged
-A stat that is in use is being damaged.

In the first case, the stat becomes analogous to hit points- once it reaches 0, you lose, but you don't suffer much in the way of negative effects until then.
In the second case, the stat is analogous to hit points, except the hit point total is much lower: Once you have lost more than half the variance of your tier (http://anydice.com/program/f506) (7 point difference for Superhero, 6 points for Hero, etc.), you have less than a 10% chance of winning a given roll, and the fight is all over sans about 10 pointless turns. As a result, you have far fewer effective hit points.

Furthermore, in a fight between someone attacking a meaningful stat and one attacking a nonmeaningful stat, the one attacking a meaningful stat is much more likely to win, because they are fighting someone with far fewer "effective" hit points.

brian 333
2018-03-29, 10:50 PM
My problem with this is that this is significantly more than "a few" dice rolls- 20 direct hits requires, at minimum, 40 rolls. Assuming that they take turns in order, that's at least 80 rolls for the whole encounter.

Higher level fights take far, far longer than low level fights, and something should be done to deal with this. Recall 2-10:

Superman can take 20 direct hits from Hulk, and vice versa, but there's no reason that each of those 20 hits must be a separate roll and a separate turn.

Consider the following:
From my previous calculations, if two characters are a full tier (i.e. mid Superhero vs. mid Hero, low Exceptional vs. low Hero) away from each other, there's less than a 10% chance of the lower character affecting the higher character.
Therefore, in many cases, if two characters are in different tiers, it is virtually impossible (practically) for your stat to affect the higher statted person.

Consider the situation where two characters are fighting. Each of them are using two stats, one to attack and one to defend. Each has one stat that is being damaged.

Then there are two meaningful situations:
-A stat that is not in use is being damaged
-A stat that is in use is being damaged.

In the first case, the stat becomes analogous to hit points- once it reaches 0, you lose, but you don't suffer much in the way of negative effects until then.
In the second case, the stat is analogous to hit points, except the hit point total is much lower: Once you have lost more than half the variance of your tier (http://anydice.com/program/f506) (7 point difference for Superhero, 6 points for Hero, etc.), you have less than a 10% chance of winning a given roll, and the fight is all over sans about 10 pointless turns. As a result, you have far fewer effective hit points.

Furthermore, in a fight between someone attacking a meaningful stat and one attacking a nonmeaningful stat, the one attacking a meaningful stat is much more likely to win, because they are fighting someone with far fewer "effective" hit points.

Agreed higher tier fights require more rolls. Such characters also have more options available. But not every fight is a 20 vs. 20 situation. A clever player will seek to attack the opponent's weak stats. Superman might, for example, attempt to calm Hulk down.

The system is intended to favor higher tier characters. It is intentional. The high power Exceptional character and the low power Hero are only a point or two away in stats, but the Hero gets a D8 while the Exceptional Human is limited to a D6. While it is not intended that a character of Hero status have all abilities in the Hero range, it is possible. More likely the Hero will have one or two Heroic abilities and the rest would be of lesser power ranking.

Your analysis of the stats is spot on. The only thing I want to add is that as the 'stat in use' diminishes, the chance of being overwhelmed increases, so the chance of being required to roll out those ten extra rounds diminishes. Sometimes those extra 'hit points' can buy your character time to retreat, if nothing else.

Also, you may be overlooking the potential to switch stats. I'll use Blaze as an example.
Her attacks affect Endurance. She uses fire, after all. She is in a Precision vs. Reflex battle with a character capable of injuring her Precision. As she fights, she realizes her attacks are becoming less effective, so she changes her taactics. She changes her tactics. Instead of attempting to ignite her opponent, she pumps up her heat and goes for the hug in a Strength vs. Strength attack. She is still inflicting injury on her opponent's Endurance, but she is no longer relying upon her precision to conducg attacks.

redzimmer
2018-04-07, 01:17 PM
I'm gonna bump this so that I can come back and review everything.

brian 333
2018-04-08, 11:24 AM
Book 3 has grown longer than anticipated, and I've been suffering with a sinus infection that has left me dizzy most of the time. I am considering splitting Book 3 into Adjudicating Characters and Adminitrating Campaigns. First I want to pare down what I have, but thinking for more than a few minutes at a time right now leaves me a drooling zombie.

redzimmer
2018-04-08, 10:12 PM
Book 3 has grown longer than anticipated, and I've been suffering with a sinus infection that has left me dizzy most of the time. I am considering splitting Book 3 into Adjudicating Characters and Adminitrating Campaigns. First I want to pare down what I have, but thinking for more than a few minutes at a time right now leaves me a drooling zombie.

Take all the time you need. Just remember a "with thanks to some dude on the gitp.com forums" credit when you make money off this.

brian 333
2018-04-11, 02:45 PM
Book 3: Adjudication Of Characters

The role of the Administrator is crucial to the game, not only in creating the world in which the characters exist, but in creating their adversaries and challenges. In order to establish a fair game the Administrator must also regulate the powers used by characters and at the same time offer players opportunities to be creative in the play of their characters. This will, on occasion, create conflicting demands on the Administrator.

A consistent method of dealing with such contradictory requirements will aid both Administrator and player by establishing precedents and a certain degree of predictability in game sessions. Arbitrarily deciding at each point of conflict will lead to arguments, but consistency in Administration will allow both players and Administrators to focus on the story rather than the dice rolls.

This book deals primarily with establishing a consistent set of guidelines which Administrators may use to adjudicate character powers. These rules are not intended to be a straight jacket. An Administrator always retains the power to dictate any portion of the campaign, but the Administrator must also keep in mind that players will want to feel as if their choices and decisions matter. Administrator fiat should be used sparingly, if at all, so that players do not become disenfranchised.

3-1: Power Ranking And Tiers

While the terms may appear to have been used interchangeably in the previous books, they are actually different things. Power Ranking refers to the number of the Ability Score, while Tier refers to the groupings: Weakling, Normal Human, Extraordinary Human, Hero, and Superhero. The numerical Power Ranking is intended to allow characters at the top of one Tier to be competative with those at the bottom of the next higher Tier.

The system is also intended to give advantages to characters of higher tiers. One of the most important decisions an Administrator must make is the Tier at which an adventure will be set. This decision will inform many other choices during character creation and world-building.

3-2: Powers Defined And Adjudicated

The easiest power to define, and thus Adjudicate, is physical strength. Lifting a weight above one's head is an absolute measure of strength, but most powers are not so straightforward. What does Power Ranking mean in regards to mental powers? Flying speed? Resistance to other powers?

As an example, let's use flight. It is not something a Weakling can do. Even with wings, about the best a Normal Human can do is glide or parachute.Extraordinary Humans with wings could soar with limited maneuverability, while Heros fly at will with or without wings. In this example, the Power Ranking of the character's Strength Ability determines how well the character can fly, but it is not the only Ability which affects the power. Precision determines how well the character can maneuver, land on a particular target, intercept other fliers, or fly through obstacles, while Reflex can help to avoid mishaps from failed maneuver attempts or avoid obstacles detected at the last moment.

To adjudicate a Power proposed by a player the Administrator must determine how it scales in relation to the Strength Ability of the character. The Power of reading minds is not directly analogous to super-strength, for example, but when considering some of the uses of such a Power, an administrator can see that these uses scale in a similar way.

(Power Ranking / Tier / Weight / Mind Reading)
1 / Weakling / 25 pounds / Guesses wrong card 90% of the time
2 / Weakling / 50 pounds / Guesses obvious 50% of the time
3 / Normal Human / 75 pounds / Has occasional intuition about people's intentions
4 / Normal Human / 125 pounds
5 / Normal Human / 200 pounds / Guesses correct card 50% of the time
6 / Extraordinary Human / 500 pounds
7 / Extraordinary Human / 1000 pounds / Has strong intuition about people's intentions
8 / Extraordinary Human / 1 ton
9 / Extraordinary Human / Automobile
10 / Hero / Truck / Reads surface thoughts
11 / Hero / Tractor Trailer
12 / Hero / Train Car / Influences Surface Thoughts
13 / Hero / Train Locomotive and several cars
14 / Hero / Battleship / Can probe minds
15 / Superhero / Aircraft Carrier
16 / Superhero
17 / Superhero / Asteroid / Can reprogram minds
18 / Superhero
19 / Superhero / Moon
20 / Superhero / Planet / Can control crowds

When adjudicating a Power it is important for the player and Administrator to create a Power Ranking chart each time a new Power is adjudicated, to be kept for future reference when adjudicating similar powers, so that the tendency for power creep can be curtailed. The player need only note the important points on the character sheet, which is typically the minimum Strength Power Ranking required to perform a particular task.

In the above example, the player might regard the Weakling Tiers irrelevant, but would record as follows on the character sheet:
Undaunted 3: Occasional Intuition, Undaunted 5: Guess 50%, Undaunted 9: Intuition 90%, Undaunted 10: Read Surface Thoughts, Undaunted 14: Probe minds, Undaunted 17: Reprogram Minds.

This would allow the player to see at a glance if the relevant Ability Power Ranking was currently high enough to perform the action. Each power the character posesses, or each use of the same power, should be adjudicated and recorded in this manner.

3-3: Abilities Defined

Once the minimum Power Ranking is determined to use a Power, the player and Administrator must discuss which Ability controls the power, which is used to attack with the Power, and which Ability it Injures if used to attack another character.

In general, Strength is the strength of the Power. Attack rolls which use Strength tend to Injure Endurance.

Undaunted relates to Powers of the mind, and is used both to attack with and defend against mind powers. Undaunted based attacks tend to Injure Undaunted Ability.

Precision defines the character's control of the Power, both in accuracy and in versatility. Telekenetically opening a lock is a Precision challenge, as is using a Power at less than full Strength. When Precision is the primary Ability of a Power it typically affects Reflex.

Endurance regulates a character's resistance to Powers. However, in a contest of direct application of a power against an equal power, it may come down to which character gives up first in an Endurance versus Endurance challenge.

Reflex determines the capability of the character to avoid direct attacks. While a 'counterpunch' type Power is possible which uses Reflex for its attack, it is more likely that Reflex will be used defensively or to enable extremely rapid movement.

Beauty represents the character's ability to influence or gain aid from random NPCs and the public at large. It is usually countered by, and when used as an attack, Injures, the opponent's Beauty. Keep in mind that even villains can gain a positive image in the public domain.

3-4: Abilities And Powers Adjudicated

In the creation of characters, players and Administrators cooperatively determine which Abilities influence which Powers. This does not preclude other uses of a Power which may be created at a later date. Instead, it forms a base for the later adjudication of such emergent uses of the Power.

3-4a: Adjudicating Strength

When adjudicating a Power and its potential uses, the first thing to consider is its Strength. As the Strength of the Power increases, increasingly effective uses of its Power may be unlocked. As an example, consider the Power of Flight. A Weakling cannot fly, but may fall. Normal Humans cannot fly without magical or mechanical assistance. Extraordinary Humans may have wings or gas bladders, or some other means of keeping themselves aloft. Heroes often fly without assistance, and Superheroes fly at exceptional speeds. Thus, the Strength requirements for flight might be adjudicated as:
Strength 3: Glide/Parachute, Strength 6: Short or slow flight with mechanical aid, Strength 10: Subsonic Flight, Strength 15: Supersonic Flight. Thus, when a Superhero's Strength Power Ranking drops below 15 the Superhero can no longer achieve supersonic speeds, and when Strength drops below 6 the character can fall with style, but can no longer fly.

3-4b: Controlling The Power

The next consideration is the use of the Power as a weapon. Is it primarily an attempt to crush or overload the enemy with the Power? Is it a ranged attack? Is it a mental manipulation? Is it a response to stimuli? While each Power is unique, (even two fliers might fly differently,) each Power must be controlled in some way to be used as an attack.

Direct applications of a Power are generally controlled by Strength. These attacks are not subtle or constrained: they unleash the Power against a foe.

Powers which affect the mind of a foe are generally controlled by Undaunted. These attacks have no physical result, but can greatly affect a foe's ability to think and use mental Powers.

Aimed, directed, or self-limited uses of a Power are generally controlled with Precision. A kung-fu master attacking pressure points or a super-strong character attacking a Normal Human at less than full power are examples of Precision attacks.

A Power which reacts under certain circumstances, (established before the battle,) is controlled by Reflex. These attacks occur under the stated conditions, and cannot be chosen or targeted.

Gaining a positive reaction from an NPC is controlled by Beauty. Charm, popularity, or persuasiveness are examples of Powers which are controlled by Beauty.

3-4c: Abilities Injured

The third consideration is what the Power Injures when an attack succeeds. While some Powers do not conform to the general guidelines, this will be adjudicated by the Administrator who must consider the intent of the player who creates and proposes the use of the Power.

Attacks which manifest physically typically injure Endurance.

Those which affect the mind typically Injure Undaunted.

Attacks which attempt to immobilize tend to Injure Reflex.

There are certainly other possibilities. For example, a mental Power which is intended to weaken a foe could Injure Strength, an attack intended to confuse or misdirect the target could Injure Precision, while attacks intended to humiliate or defame a character may affect Beauty.

3-4d: Additional Uses Of A Power

The final consideration is additional uses of the same Power. When a Power has multiple applications each application must be individually adjudicated. As an example, a character with Telekenesis as a Power may use it to directly attack a character by slamming the foe to the ground, (Strdngth versus Strength, Injures Endurance,) or by hurling objects, (Precision versus Reflex, Injures Endurance.) The character may also attempt to immobilize the foe, (Strength versus Reflex, Injures Reflex.)

Each use of a Power should be adjudicated when the Player creates the character or when the player conceives a new use for the Power to avoid arguments and wasted time during combat. The Administrator is justified in arbitrarily adjudicating novel uses which arise during stress points in the game in order to keep the momentum of the game, with full adjudication delayed to the end of the game session.

It should be noted that rediculous uses of a Power may, and should, (outside of comic antics for the general amusement of the group,) be rejected by the Administrator.

3-4e: Fair Adjudication

The primary consideration for the Administrator is to adjudicate Powers and their uses with due consideration for the player's intent. While it is vital to maintain control of the ultimate power wielded by the player's character in relation to the power wielded by the NPCs, it is equally important that the player feels the end result conforms to the initial proposal. If the player proposes Powers or uses of Powers which exceed the Tier or Power Ranking of the character, the process of collaborative adjudication should be used so that the player and Administrator achieve a meeting of the minds on what a Power can do.

The Administrator is urged to record each ajudication of Powers so that future adjudications adhere to a standard. By referring to previous Powers while adjudicating a new one, the Administrator has a reference point to contain power creep and documentation to convince players their proposal is overpowered compared to previous characters of the same tier.

3-5: Adjudicating Vulnerabilities

While it is not required that a character have a vulnerability, many comic-book characters do. Therefore the Administrator should reward players who choose to give their characters a vulnerability or two. Care should be taken to avoid min-maxing by taking several trivial Vulnerabilities in exchange for useful benefits. In general, the scale of the Vulnerability should match the scale of the benefit.

One way to reward a player's choice of Vulnerabilities is by granting an increase of the Tier of an Ability directly related to the Vulnerability.

Another way could be to allow an additional Power for the character or to allow additional uses of a Power.

Creativity should also be rewarded so that the more unique the vulnerability, the better the reward.

While common or weak Vulnerabilities should not incur penalties, the Administrator should grant proportionally weaker rewards for them.

One request players will inevitably make is to sacrifice Tiers in one Ability to improve the Tier of another. If the Administrator allows this, it should be remembered that exceeding the Tier of the campaign in an Ability can have serious consequences to the power balance of the adventure. One option might be to set an absolute cap on Tiers, but allowing a player to sacrifice two Tiers in one Ability to gain a Tier in another if that does not push that Ability above the campaign's cap.

3-6: Injuries

Injuries to an Ability has effects. As the Power Ranking of an Ability decreases, its Tier, (and thus the die associated with it,) does not change. However, the use of the Injured Ability becomes less effective. Eventually an Ability could be reduced to zero Power Ranking due to Injuries, and at this point certain Ability dependant effects apply.

Zero Strength results in Fatigue. A Fatigued character may not actively use any Strength-based Power. Passive uses of Powers are allowed, (defending against attacks, for example,) but these are limited to the die roll associated with the Ability's Tier. A Fatigued character may continue to act as a Normal Human andmay use other Abilities at their full Power Ranking.

When Undaunted reaches zero the character's mind is turned off. The character is considered to be Confused, and cannot act purposefully. Although passive or Reflex based defense is allowed, the Administrator may declare the character to be helpless to certain attacks.

(Note: Update 2-7 "When a character reaches zero Undaunted the charaxter may not actively use Mind Powers and is considered Confused.")

At zero Perception the character becomes Out Of Control and cannot aim ranged attacks or attack at less than full Strength. An Out Of Control character may continue to use other Abilities to attack, but may not use any Power with any degres of finesse.

When Endurance reaches zero the character is considered to be Lethargic, and cannot engage in strenuous physical activities. While able to use Powers, the Lethargic character cannot physically do much more than stagger or crawl to safety.

Reflex Injuries reduce the character's ability to avoid ranged attacks and to use Powers which improve movement and maneuverability. When the Reflex Power Ranking reaches zero the character is considered Immobilized. Immobilized characters can passively resist using the die appropriate to the Tier of their Reflex Ability, but cannot use Powers to aid in avoiding attacks. Powers which do not require the character to be mobile are unaffected.

When Beauty reaches zero, the character is loathed and reviled by the general public, and is considered Defamed. A Defamed character may not influence or gain support either from the public or from specific NPCs. As always, the character is entitled to the die appropriate to the Tier of the Beauty Ability, but in any encounter with NPCs not specifically designated as friends, the NPCs will call the police, boo, throw rotten vegetables, or even attack.

When any three Abilities reach zero the character is considered Unconscious and may no longer resist or act in any capacity. Unconscious characters are at the mercy of their foe unless an NPC or other character acts to protect the Unconscious character.

3-7: Recovery From Injury

The rate of recovery from Injuries is determined by the Tier of the character:

Weaklings recover 2 points per day or 1 point in 12 hours.
Normal Humans recover 3 points per day or 1 point every 8 hours.
Extraordinary Humans recover 4 points per day or 1 point every 6 hours.
Heros recover 6 points per day or 1 point over 4 hours.
Superheroes recover 8 points per day or 1 point in 3 hours.

As points are gained the player may assign them to any Injured Ability until the Injury is healed.

There are other means of restoring Ability Power Ranking, some of which may be directly related to character Powers. Some of these means might be a battery to restore Strength, meditation rituals to restore Undaunted, Tai Chi to restore Reflex, and so on. If the character has such a Power, the Difficulty of using it should be defined during character creation.

Professional medical care can restore Endurance, but can nsver heal more than half the total Injury.

While there are many more potential methods of increasing the rate of recovery of Injured Power Rankings, these must be adjudicated by the Administrator, who must weigh their potential rate of restoration against the pace of the adventure's plot.

3-8: Unconsciousness And Death

As described in 2-8: Life Below Zero, a character can be rendered Unconscious when three Abilities are Injured to zero. Until tbat point characters may act freely within the linits imposed by their injuries; however, when the third Ability reaches zero Power Ranking the character may no longer act or resist, and has no awareness of what happens next until there are less than three Abilities at zero Power Ranking.

Unconscious characters recover from their Injuries as described in 3-7: Recovery From Injury.

What happens to Unconscious characters is highly dependent upon the tone set by the Administrator. In most comics, the heroic character escapes on the verge of defeat, or the villain gives up and is incarcerated. Death is both extremely rare and plot-related. In these stories the character's death is a vital part of accomplishing a goal. Death is never the result of simply being beaten in a fight.

Comic-book heroes who are defeated are usually captured by the villain either to gloat over the hero's failure or to display as a means of taking the heart out of the opposition. They may be rescued or escape the villain, creating new sub-plots to be resolved before continuing with the adventure.

Because of this, Death is not considered in these rules. If an Administrator chooses to allow character death as a result of Injury, the Administrator must define at what point a character is considered dead. This should be determined prior to the beginning of the game and should be explained to the players.

3-9: Character Improvement

Most comic-book characters grow in power slowly if at all. Such growth almost always comes after a defeat or a hard-fought victory. Thus a player should only be granted an opportunity to improve while recovering from defeat or celebrating victory. (In other words, at the conclusion of an episode, story-arc, or adventure.)

When the Administrator declares an opportunity to improve a character, the player must consider for which Ability Power Ranking the attempt will be made, and then describe how the Ability applied at a critical point in the previous adventure. The player must also be prepared to describe how the character is going about improving the character's Ability, whether through intense training, meditation, accepting invitations to appear on televised talk shows, or whatever the player decides is appropriate to improving the chosen Ability.

While the Administrator should feel free to reject frivolous or inappropriate choices, if the player can present reasonable arguments to support the choice the Administrator should respect and allow it. "It's the Ability I have the best chance to improve," for example, should be rejected; however, "Had my character been able to influence the villain's henchman, my character could have thwarted the villain's scheme," would be an excellent defense for choosing to improve the character's Beauty Power Ranking.

Once the player and Administrator agree on the Ability, the player rolls two dice as dictated by the Tier of the chosen Ability and subtracts its modifier. If the total exceeds the character's current, uninjured, Power Ranking, the Power Ranking is improved by 1 point.

The dice rolled and the modifier is dictated by the Tier of the Ability.

Weakling = 2d2 -2
Normal Human = 2d3 -1
Extraordinary Human = 2d5 -1
Hero = 2d8 -2
Superhero = 2d10

The Administrator may also choose to grant a bonus or penalty, (usually +1,) to this roll as a reward for player performance in the game. The Administrator should clearly state why such bonuses or penalties are applied in order to encourage better play in the future.

Usually an Ability cannot be improved beyond the maximum for its Tier; but, at the Administrator's option, a player may attempt to improve an Ability to the next higher Tier. This is done by making an attempt to improve a Power Ranking which is already at the maximum score for its Tier.

Note that due to the dice and modifiers used at each Tier it becomes progressively more difficult to improve an Ability's Power Ranking as it approaches the maximum for its tier, and improving the Tier of an ability can only be accomplished when the Administrator awards a bonus to the attempt.

If the player succeeds in improving the Tier of an Ability, the character is thereafter entitled to the die used for the new Tier when resolving challenges related to the improved Ability.

The Administrator may also choose to reward players with new Powers for the character, or by granting new uses for existing Powers. This is strictly up to the Administrator as a means of rewarding roleplaying or good gamesmanship. The newly granted Power may be defined by the player if the Administrator allows it, but the adjudication process should occur as it is done for a new character, in a collaborative effort by both player and Administrator.

In some cases improvement of Power Ranking will grant access to uses of a Power which has already been adjudicated. This is why every Power should be fully adjudicated even if the character does not have access to the uses due to Power Ranking limitations.

3-10: The Character Sheet

At the top of the page the character's name and Tier should be clearly written.

The Character Sheet should have the Abilities listed vertically with a note for their Tier and the die associated with the Ability. Beside each Ability the Power Ranking should be recorded with enough room for tallying Injuries.

Beneath this each Power and each distinct use of the Power should be listed with all applicable adjudications noted.

Beneath this any Vulnerabilities should be listed with the effects which apply when the Vulnerability is exploited.

On the reverse a synopsis of the character's back-story should be written.

Below this the player should list major events which occur or which impact the character's development.

***

There will be a Book 4. Please feel free to PEACH this book and the entire system as it stands.

I would also appreciate feedback on things I may have overlooked. My dizzyness has been diagnosed as a side effect of my sinus medicine, and is getting better day by day since I have stopped taking it, so my writing pace should begin to pick up.

brian 333
2018-04-13, 11:03 PM
Has anyone created characters or tried some combat? I'm curious about any results because my playtesting has been solo and staged.

redzimmer
2018-04-16, 04:06 PM
I haven't yet.

Good idea.

redzimmer
2018-05-10, 01:31 PM
Going to have a bit of free time in a few weeks time, will want to try a play-test then.

redzimmer
2018-07-28, 02:47 PM
Sorry to see this die, but I hope someone one day will find this in the archives and take up the good fight...

Sends distress signal, disintegrates.

brian 333
2018-07-29, 09:01 AM
Sorry to see this die, but I hope someone one day will find this in the archives and take up the good fight...

Sends distress signal, disintegrates.

The game is ready for playtesting. Can't really go much farther without it.

redzimmer
2018-07-29, 09:33 AM
The game is ready for playtesting. Can't really go much farther without it.

You both did great. Iíve just never had time to put it to paper, then it let this lapse.

brian 333
2018-07-29, 12:20 PM
You both did great. Iíve just never had time to put it to paper, then it let this lapse.

My apologies if my comment came across in anegative way. I just reread it and it sounded a little snarky.

What I should have said is, Book 4 must deal with setting campaign difficulty and balancing that with character power, which requires feedback from playtesting the core game mechanics. One must be aware of the problems likely to arise if one is to design counters and work-arounds for them.