Warning: The following will probably be even more boring than usual to most people.
I've been preparing to GM a HERO game for exarkun, glyph, cyli, and hopefully someone else when I move to Boston. It'll be set in Divunal, with all the players playing as Divunids, the freaky lightning-golem characters from that world. I've spent a few days of free time coming up with a decent model of the Divunid in HERO terms, and have created a sample character sheet for a starting Divunid (OpenOffice 2 spreadsheet). Explanations follow. If you're trying to learn this stuff, open up your HERO Sidekick and the Divunid spreadsheet and read up on the references.
First: Divunids are unstoppable. They can use their strength to run, jump, lift, and fight without getting tired. I've bought them a Characteristic power (see Sidekick p45) to bring their Strength up to to 30, and added the "Costs No Endurance" modifier s.t. it applies to even the base STR characterestic. I've done similar things with their Leap, Swim, and Running characteristics so they don't have to pay END to use these. Then, I sold off all of their END, since they don't need it given those powers. To players, this all basically means that you don't have to worry about ENDurance at all for physical activities. Hooray simplicity!
The STR figure in the spreadsheet is slightly hacked: I put it at 30 to represent their total STR, but changed the cost (which was automatically calculated) to 0, since the actual points were spent on the power, not the Characteristic. Everything else in the Characteristics and Movement sections are pretty straightforward. They have an extremely high CON, BODY, etc, to represent their incredible physical power. Their PREsence is fairly high to represent their scariness to most humanoids, etc.
As for their powers, in addition to the set that represents their unstoppability, there are two interesting ones. First, their bodies can hold quite a bit of electricity, making them something of a Human Battery, or Lightning Golem. This is represented by an Endurance Reserve of 500 points (Sorry, this power isn't shown in Sidekick).
Second, they can discharge this electricity into devices with capacitors or batteries in them. This is the complicated power. The way this works is that ALL devices with capacitors or batteries (or just individual batteries) will be represented as Endurance Reserves similar to the one Divunids have, only generally with much fewer points than 500.
Before I describe the HERO mechanics of this power, I'll describe it in the way the players have to care about: Divunids can discharge up to 30 "points" of charge (straight out of their own Lightning Golem END reserve) per phase into a device in order to charge it, and it stops filling up after the device is full (it is possible to damage a device by being irresponsible with charging, but that's left up to the GM to play out on a case-by-case basis).
The "Discharge" power is a Succor 10d6 (modified Aid, see Sidekick p45) that improves the REC of the target (allowing it to RECover its END) for as long as the Divunid is touching the target. This has a lot of modifiers. First, it uses the Standard Effect rule (again not discussed in Sidekick) which means it's stable: the average of the 10d6 roll is used instead of actually rolling 10d6: that means 30. However, there's a custom advantage I've added to this power called "Extra Control". That means the players can choose to discharge *any* amount of electricity up to 30 points: useful for devices that can only handle so much charge coming to them at once. This power also costs Extra END (x5), calculated in such a fashion as to make the END cost *equal* to the amount of REC given to the target. So transferring electricity is 1:1, barring inefficient connections with the device (which will be handled by the GM :) It's also got Obvious Accessible Focus (Focus, sidekick p69), which means that they have to be holding the device they're charging in order to charge it. Lastly, it's got the custom limitation "Only to charge devices", representing the fact that this can only be used to recharge devices, not improve the REC of some meatbag to help them heal faster (which is what REC is normally used for).
So! If you've stayed with me that far, I'm impressed. To wrap up, I'll discuss the Disadvantages the basic Divunids have.
First, and most dangerous, is their nasty reaction to water. A divunid submerged in water will basically disintegrate, and if he's standing in the rain without protection it'll probably do some nasty hurt. So Divunids have a Susceptibility to Water (Physical Limitation). Every phase they're in contact with water, they'll take 3d6 damage. This should mean that a Divunid will drop with a few minutes of exposure to rain, given their 80 STUN.
Second, a Divunid has a strange physiology. Their body is made out of a material much more dense than human flesh, making them much heavier. They also probably can't feel differences in temperature quite as easily as meatbags: If they walk into a meat freezer, it's unlikely they'll notice the difference. This isn't terribly disadvantageous, but it's still worth 15 points.
Anyway, there's HERO-Divunid version 1.0. It may change after some play time, but I'm happy with what I've got for now.
Warning: The following will probably be even more boring than usual to most people.
I've been GMing my first ever role playing campaign for about 4 or 5 sessions so far. I think I'm continuously improving my sense of pacing and challenge. Of course, I say that after giving the players a problem that took them about an hour of thinking to come up with a plan to solve, but hey! That just goes to show
how stupid they are how much I need to improve. Also, that hour was watered down by watching lots of cricket.
Here's a synopsis of the plot so far.
1. Players got hired by a Captain of the Guard from one of the lower districts of the city (Cassane) to deal with some thugs trying to put together a gang in High Walls, a place that's mostly full of foreign refugees.
2. They killed off most of the gang (in so-called "self defense") and turned in the leader of the gang, Robert Bammel, to the coppers.
3. Players meet Abil the Mad, a weird mage who sends them after a drug dealer in a nasty part of town. They do so, with gusto. They return a sample of the popular drug to Abil, who makes a delicious anti-addiction curry with it (and a bit of Crazy Magicks).
4. The next day, they are suddenly apprehended by noble guards and taken to a garrison, to await trial at some unknown point in the future. The news headline that day: DUBIOUS ADVENTURERS: RACISTS OR SAVIOURS?
5. Cassane shows up, tells them why they've been locked up: A political issue (hence the extreme dubiousness of the guards). The councilman from the area of town that High Wall ordered them imprisoned due to alleged Hate Crimes against Cyran refugees. It turns out that all this scum the intrepid adventurers have been dealing with happen to be Cyrans, an oppressed and poor people forced out of their home due to massive upheaval in the Last War. ALSO, that same councilman (Rafale Brini) is likely the head of the drug network which just lost an important member to a band of adventurers the other day.
6. Cassane gives them a choice: He'll sneak them out of jail (this isn't even his garrison) IF they promise to take care of Rafale. He makes Rafale out to be someone that no one in the city will miss, even the other councilmembers. Or, they can rot in jail until someone gives them a trial. However, if they don't kill the Rafale, then not only will he continue to go after them, but so will Cassane and all of his guards.
7. After much, much deliberation, the characters (with a lot of help from one of the player characters' "disguise" capability, thanks to his being a Changeling) form a plan to take out Rafale. After finding evidence that Rafale occassionally travels to an upscale brothel once or twice a month, they decide to ambush him on the way there. They do so, in a dramatic fight aboard soarsleds, which are basically bad-ass Hobgoblin-style hoverboards.
8. After killing Rafale, they flee the city for a couple of days. When aforementioned player-character Changeling enters the city again, he finds Cassane and asks him what the deal is. Cassane is shocked to see him, and suggests staying out of the city for a while. ohhhhhh craaaap! The players extort money out of him, as Cassane is obviously doing some extremely illegal stuff (e.g., coercing adventurers to perform political assassinations). However, the player characters are now wanted in the city, so they flee on a galleon to nearby Xendrik, a continent of adventurers, and, of course, fugitives.
9. The players prepare to fight monsters, now free of the rigors of political scandal... or are they?
Posted by Christopher Armstrong at Friday, January 27, 2006
Thanks to everyone who commented about how to move large mechanical devices overseas. Now, to all you people in Boston: find me a place to live. I'm looking for a place around Cambridge or Somerville, 2 bedrooms, for less than $1400/mo. I'm going to be trawling the online listings (OffCampusNetwork looks like it has some decent stuff), and with amazing luck I'll have a place sorted out by the time I get up there.
I hope to find a place like this.
Posted by Christopher Armstrong at Friday, January 13, 2006
I bought a Nintendo DS recently, along with the games Mario Kart, Metroid Pinball, and Trace Memory (called Another Code in Australia, for some stupid reason - Trace Memory is such a cooler name). The latter is a very cool point-and-click adventure game which I'm really enjoying. Mario Kart is better than the version for the Game Cube. Metroid Pinball is surprisingly deep.
But that sort of recklessness with the money had better stop soon -- I need to buy a plane ticket to the US, and then probably pay a huge bond on an apartment. To clarify, I'm moving to Boston. Where rent is, like, a billion dollars per hour, I think. I'm doing this at an appropriate time, because I also got a new job working for Canonical, those geniuses that brought us Ubuntu (but no, I'm not on the distro team). I'll be moving in about 5.2 weeks, to be precise.
I'm really going to miss Tasmania, and the friends I've made here. I hope to visit on new years, so I don't miss the Taste (an awesome food festival) and all of my friends. Also, I'm really looking forward to living in Boston and hanging out with all those crazy bastards. I think I might try to round them up into a role-playing troupe, perhaps one that plays in the Divunal universe.
So, anyone have any advice on transporting a tower PC (bigger than my suit case) and a 19" LCD monitor across a large body of water?
Boston is probably a Land of Tiny Machines.
Posted by Christopher Armstrong at Wednesday, January 11, 2006
I started a separate blog for nanofiction, style practice, and story development ideas (that is to say, don't expect to be entertained :). I used to post it all to a forum community I'm involved in, but I'd like it to live somewhere else now.
Radix's Lack of Creativity
Posted by Christopher Armstrong at Sunday, January 01, 2006