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Old November 2nd, 2010, 12:59 AM
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Superhero Campaigns

I was reading through the Heroes of 'Scape (RPG) thread, and thought, "This would be cool for superheroes." However, the approach presented in there doesn't really lend itself well to superheroes. For one thing, it doesn't include the classes and species used in Superhero HS. Plus I think it's overly complex.

What I'm looking for is a simple (elegant) way to represent gaining experience. One obvious solution is to take the D&D approach and use Treasure Glyphs. But those don't work quite so well for superheroes (IMO), don't really fit thematically, and I don't really feel like making a ton of glyphs for every hero and their personal variation of a power.

What I'd like to represent actually encompasses several "levels" of gaining experience throughout an extended campaign. By "extended campaign", I'm not talking just 3-5 scenarios in a row, I'm talking a dozen or potentially dozens of them.

This means the increases should be slow in coming and not boost a hero too much all at once. It could be as simple as Punisher finding some new weapons, on the level of Spider-Man finding a new symbiote costume, a hero changing from their early rookie days to a seasoned veteran (similar to HeroClix), or Iceman turning from a regular mutant to an Omega class mutant. Any or all of those could potentially be applicable.

Simply adding to the stats is an option I've considered, but another one I don't really like. It tends to power up the hero way too fast, and also creates and imbalance (which, I know, is kind of the point, but this approach tends to go too far after just a couple of iterations).

So I thought I'd post my goals, what I've tried that hasn't worked, and see if anyone has any suggestions for what has worked for them. Anyone interested in a brainstorming session?


Action Points
Each Unique Hero receives 1 Action Point for each full 100 points of figures destroyed.
Additional Action Points may be assigned in specific scenarios based on scenario
objectives or victory conditions. Action Points are cumulative from one game to the next
during the course of the same campaign.
Actions can be stacked - more than one can be used per turn.


Actions

UNLOCK (1)
Instead of attacking, you may open one adjacent door.

LUCK (2)
You may add 2 to one 20-sided die roll.

CRUMBLE (2)
Instead of attacking, you may destroy one adjacent battlement.

UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES (2)
After revealing the "X" Order Marker on this figure, you may take a turn with this figure.

STALLING TACTICS (3)
Your opponent must subtract 3 from one initiative roll.

DOUBLE TIME (3)
After taking a turn with this figure, you may take one additional turn with this figure.

HEAD START (3)
You may add 3 to your initiative roll.

CRITICAL HIT (3)
After attacking a Squad figure with a normal attack, you may automatically destroy it.

SUBTERFUGE (4)
You may subtract 3 from one 20-side die roll made by an opponent.

TRANSPORT (4)
Instead of taking a turn with this figure, you may instead place it on any empty space within 10 spaces of its original position.

INTELLIGENCE REPORT (4)
At the start of the round, choose one opponent. For this round only, that opponent must place all of his Order Markers so that they are visible to all players.

DISCOVERY (4)
Before taking a turn with this figure, you may place one unrevealed Glyph from the battlefield on this figure's card.

SMASH (5)
Instead of attacking, you may destroy one adjacent object or line of sight blocker, such as a ruin, wall, or a tree.

HEROIC DEFENSE (5)
This figure may ignore all wounds from one normal attack.

STUN (5)
You may remove all unrevealed Order Markers from an adjacent figure's army card.


DOOR BREACH (5)
Instead of attacking, you may destroy one adjacent door.

BRIDGE DEMOLITIION (5)
Instead of taking a turn with this figure, you may remove one bridge from the battlefield. The bridge cannot have any figures on it.

SUPERHUMAN DEFENSE (6)
This figure may ignore all wounds from one special attack.

SACRIFICE (6)
After taking a turn with this figure, you may destroy one figure you control and remove all Wound Markers from this figure's card.

REVIVE (6)
Instead of taking a turn with this figure, you may remove all wound markers from one adjacent Hero you control.

WALL DEMOLITION (7)
Instead of taking a turn with this figure, you may remove from the battlefield one adjacent castle wall section, and everything on top of it. The wall, or anything above it, cannot have any figures on it.

PERSUASION (7)
You may place your "X" Order Marker on an opponent's Army Card instead of your own. At the end of the round, reveal the "X" Order Marker and take a turn with that figure.


UNCANNY ( 8 )
You may add or subtract 5 from any one 20-sided die roll.

COMMANDING PRESENCE ( 8 )
After revealing an Order Marker on this figure, and before taking a turn, you may take a turn with each squad you control.

INVULNERABLE (9)
This figure may ignore one attack or special power, including a terrain effect, that would automatically destroy it without the ability to roll defense dice.

PLOT TWIST (10)
You may exchange control of one of your Unique Hero figures with another player's Unique Hero figure, both of your choosing. Your opponents figure must be equal to or lower in point cost than your figure.

CRITICAL STRIKE (10)
After attacking a Hero figure with a normal attack, you may automatically destroy it.

Last edited by GreyOwl; November 2nd, 2010 at 11:55 PM.
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  #2  
Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:03 AM
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Flame Gryphon Flame Gryphon is offline
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

I think it would be cool if you could choose an ability/power, and it increases as the game continues. For example, if I choose, say, fire powers. I could start with firebolt, or some similar ability, then when I level up, it upgrades, AND I can choose another out of a couple abilities, such as flying, or Searing Intensity. Then both of my current abilites level up when I next level up, etc. And Punisher-like characters can get cooler weapons.

Can you defeat a mind such as mine?
Riddler
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:04 AM
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GreyOwl GreyOwl is offline
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

But how would you specifically "level it up"? For example, with Flying?
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:07 AM
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Flame Gryphon Flame Gryphon is offline
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyOwl View Post
But how would you specifically "level it up"? For example, with Flying?
Well...I do have an idea with Fire ability combined with Flying, but it requires a release of a C3G character I play-tested...Well, since you're a hero, I guess I can PM it to you? But I won't until I KNOW it's okay for me to do that.

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Riddler
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  #5  
Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:09 AM
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GreyOwl GreyOwl is offline
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

Sure, you can PM me.
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  #6  
Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:20 AM
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Flame Gryphon Flame Gryphon is offline
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

Idea PM sent.

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  #7  
Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:41 AM
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

I'm glad you found interest in my concepts. What you're looking for might be more easily adaptable from my old game Evolution of a Hero. The old data is in the spoilers.

In the Superhero case, you don't really have the same limitations I do with Heroscape from the figures. Since in a Superhero version you wouldn't really change classes and races, its just a straight forward choose a Hero, choose a skill or two, level up, stats go up, get new abilities.

As for extending the campaign, its really tough, because a plus 1 to any stat is a lot bigger jump than in other RPG-style games. If most powers are 20-sided based, then adding 1 their roll is the smallest increment possible in Heroscape.

Since I've been working on this RPG thing since last spring, I know all the ups and downs, so I'll be sure to stick around and help you out.

And thanks for the advertising!
~Kaiyu
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 09:31 AM
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GreyOwl GreyOwl is offline
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flame Gryphon View Post
Idea PM sent.
I see, but what you're talking about is changing one power into another. In this case, Flying into Stealth Flying. That's not exactly the sort of thing I'm after because 1) Stealth Flying won't always be thematic for every hero that has Flying and 2) it would require me to make a huge list of which powers evolve into which others.

I'm trying to come up with a generic rule or pattern that could be applied across the board, but isn't too complex. Since bumping the stats is too much of a change, I'm thinking about other changes that are "off the card". For example, bonuses to initiative rolls, ability to activate on the "X" order marker, a "frenzy" once per game (or twice per game, etc. as the figure gains more experience). Does that makes sense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiyu0707 View Post
I'm glad you found interest in my concepts. What you're looking for might be more easily adaptable from my old game Evolution of a Hero. The old data is in the spoilers.
Cool, I'm going to go check that out right now. Thanks for joining in!
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  #9  
Old November 2nd, 2010, 10:04 AM
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

I think leveling works great for dungeon crawls, but I've never thought it fits within a Super Hero realm. Bear in mind, I have very limited comics knowledge, so your experience trumps mine.

But I would like to share and idea I had actually considered as a campaign type structure, and maybe it might inspire or trigger your own ideas.

Here's the basic idea: You have one team of criminals and one team of super heroes. You have a city, which is represented by various locations. You have a bank, you have a warehouse, you have an office building, you have a police station, etc. There is a meta-game structure where criminals are attempting to commit crimes in order to accumulate money, materials, and actions. Heroes are trying to hinder and stop those crimes.

Let me explain actions for a moment. Whenever you build a bomb, or attempt to blow up a bridge, you are expending time and energy to set those things in motion. An "action" would be an abstract "currency" that you can use to complete those tasks.

So the meta-game is not the Heroscape game, but rather a new game system that sits on top of it. However, actions during this game will trigger a battle, which the Heroscape system will resolve. For example, if the heroes are able to catch the criminals in the process of robbing a bank, you would build a map and play the battle, the results updating the status in the metagame.

Not all villains need to be allocated to the same crime. Penguin and his thugs might try to rob the bank, while Riddler might be trying to kidnap a government official. Not all heroes need to be allocated to the same rescue.

In the process of all of this, you could have criminals captured, which the others could try to rescue, triggering a prison breakout scenario.

My idea is obviously very involved and would require a lot of testing and balance. But maybe you could take some idea from it and use in for your own.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidlhsl View Post
I think leveling works great for dungeon crawls, but I've never thought it fits within a Super Hero realm. Bear in mind, I have very limited comics knowledge, so your experience trumps mine.
I was thinking along the lines of video games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1/2, where a party of Heroes goes on an extended adventure together. Or like Secret Wars from the 80's. This wouldn't really apply to your average adventure, but that's why I was gearing towards extended campaigns of a dozen or more scenarios.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidlhsl View Post
But I would like to share and idea I had actually considered as a campaign type structure, and maybe it might inspire or trigger your own ideas.

Here's the basic idea: You have one team of criminals and one team of super heroes. You have a city, which is represented by various locations. You have a bank, you have a warehouse, you have an office building, you have a police station, etc. There is a meta-game structure where criminals are attempting to commit crimes in order to accumulate money, materials, and actions. Heroes are trying to hinder and stop those crimes.

Let me explain actions for a moment. Whenever you build a bomb, or attempt to blow up a bridge, you are expending time and energy to set those things in motion. An "action" would be an abstract "currency" that you can use to complete those tasks.

So the meta-game is not the Heroscape game, but rather a new game system that sits on top of it. However, actions during this game will trigger a battle, which the Heroscape system will resolve. For example, if the heroes are able to catch the criminals in the process of robbing a bank, you would build a map and play the battle, the results updating the status in the metagame.

Not all villains need to be allocated to the same crime. Penguin and his thugs might try to rob the bank, while Riddler might be trying to kidnap a government official. Not all heroes need to be allocated to the same rescue.

In the process of all of this, you could have criminals captured, which the others could try to rescue, triggering a prison breakout scenario.
Yes! That's the sort of thing I'm trying to accomplish. I kind of like the idea of earning "action currency". It could be the ability to open a lock door, blow up a bridge, knock down a wall, etc. We'd just have to find a simple way to quantify it so it could be a generic rule. Something like "when you do this, you earn X action points". Then a list of things and how many action points they cost. But the list would have to be generic, not specific to a certain scenario.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 10:37 AM
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

I haven't played those games you mentioned, so I'm afraid I won't be much help. I'll toss out one other aspect of my idea I'll share that might inspire your own ideas.

When you consider games such as Runebound, Descent, etc., decks of various cards are used to represent items, treasure, etc. If I had decided to flesh out my own idea, decks of cards would have been a vital tool in fleshing those out. For example, each side would have a deck of location cards. The criminals would secretly allocate their criminals to various locations, and heroes would secretly select a card to indicate locations which they would focus their surveillance. If the criminals can bluff the heroes and be at the bank while the heroes are watching the warehouse, the criminals would be more successful.

So you might have an action deck, equipment deck, etc.

I really hope you will be able to develop something, because I think you could really come up with something really exciting. I'll look forward to seeing what you develop.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:07 PM
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Re: Superhero Campaigns

Secret Wars was a comic limited-series, not a game. It's where around 20 heroes and villains are transported to a distant planet and told to fight it out by the Beyonder. You should check it out, it's where Spider-Man first gets his black suit.

Anyway, I like the direction you're going because I want to avoid making actual changes to the powers and stats on the cards - that would mess up their point balance. Currently, I'm leaning toward a combination of two methods:

1. Using items/equipment, probably in the form of C3G Equipment Glyphs, that can be retained from game to game. These would have to be limited to more subtle, less powerful items that aren't massively game-changing. Or a slight variation I've been working on called "Weapon Glyphs" - they're very similar, though.

2. Using your idea of "action currency" to make a list of generic actions, like opening a door, adding X wound markers to a destructible object, destroying X hexes of terrain, healing X wounds, etc. And then each scenario in the campaign will award a certain number of "action points" depending on victory conditions.
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