Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Teaser Of Sorts...

This is not the title or the cover.

...for what I'm working on.

Sat idle for a year.

Back at it with a vengeance.

Closing in on 80 pages.

It's a very unique thing. 

And then there's this guy...

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Marvel (FASERIP) Praise + Revised Character Sheets

Opal. See stats below.

So there I was, experimenting with different ways to draw dungeons, when out of the blue, Marvel popped into my head, and stayed there (such is my brain.) I should redesign the character sheet, I thought...again. Make it more user friendly. Put the charts (Universal Table) directly onto the sheet. People don't really like charts any more. They can be very useful, but the Holy Grail of game design -- well, charts don't seem to belong.

But Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP) is the greatest super-hero role-playing game ever made. Even though I played it to death, haven't touched it in years, having moved on to Heroes Unlimited or some variation there-of, including whole systems invented by yours truly (should post them here one day.) I now feel that no game captured comics like Marvel did.

Next thing you know, it's 3 A.M. and my sheet's been redesigned, with variations over the next couple of days. I guess the dungeons will have to wait a minute.

Marvel Super Heroes is such a solid game, they could republish it today with minimal tweaks. Our young minds didn't appreciate the finer details enough. We never used the defensive maneuvers (how cool is block? -- granted I would use it more proactively than rules-as-written) and we weren't all that creative with our powers -- some of which need to be fleshed out a bit more and given more practical use examples. 

Another thing Marvel could've done better is character creation. As it stands, it's completely random -- which is a good thing, I love making sense of random rolls, but, there should be more archetypes available. Something like this:

01-20  Altered Human
            01-50   Experiment
                                01-60  Super-Soldier (usually no powers, but very good stats + weapons)
                                61-80  Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
                                81-00  Random Powers
            51-00   Accident
                                01-50  Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
                                51-00  Random Powers
21-40  Mystic   
            01-40   Martial Artist (plenty of fighting talents, limited selection of mystic abilities)
            41-70   Sorcerer (quite a few lower powered powers "spells")  
            71-00   Mystically Bestowed
                                01-30  Random Powers
                                31-80  Magic Weapon/Item
                                81-00  Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
41-60  Mutant
            01-30   Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
            31-50   Experiment (Random Power + a cybernetic or two.)
            51-00   Random Powers 

61-80  Hi-Tech
            01-40   Power Suit (roll on list of powers commonly found in battle armor)
            41-70   Gadgeteer (each power is a separate gadget)
            71-00   Cybernetics (roll on list of enhancements)

81-90  Robot
            01-20   Swarm
            21-60   Android -Human Form (random powers)
            61-80   Non-Human Form
            81-00   Transforming

91-00  Alien
            01-20   Altered Form (animal, plant, mineral, etc.)
            21-80   Alien race (list of strange beings, multiple eyes, arms, etc.)
            81-00   Myth or Legend

There's tons of fan stuff for FASERIP out there. Many have expanded the universal table to include new in-between ranks such as: Awesome, Fantastic, Sensational, etc. I've looked into this before, but now I feel that it isn't necessary. I always felt Monstrous as a descriptor didn't quite fit. If I had to replace it from the list below, I'd probably choose Sensational.  Anyhow, here's a list of words you could use if you're looking to expand:

  • Awesome
  • Marvelous
  • Outstanding
  • Uncanny
  • Magnificent
  • Sensational
  • Spectacular
  • Astonishing
  • Fantastic
  • Impressive
  • Astounding
  • Exceptional
  • Stunning

And if you wanted to play a horror themed Marvel game you could rename the ranks from the following list:
  • Dreadful
  • Horrendous
  • Terrible
  • Ghastly
  • Unspeakable
  • Atrocious
  • Shocking
  • Pathetic
  • Nightmarish
  • Awful
  • Eerie
  • Abominable
  • Lousy
  • Alarming
  • Daunting
  • Formidable
  • Harrowing
  • Distressing
  • Terrifying
  • Ungodly
  • Mundane
  • Maniacal
  • Demented
  • Beyond
  • Unreal
  • Ridiculous

Let's give it a whirl:
  • Feeble -- Pathetic (2)
  • Poor -- Lousy (4)
  • Typical -- Mundane (6)
  • Good -- Formidable (10)
  • Excellent -- Daunting (20)
  • Remarkable -- Alarming (30)
  • Incredible -- Shocking (40)
  • Amazing --  Ghastly (50)
  • Monstrous -- Maniacal (75)
  • Unearthly -- Horrific (100)
  • Shift X -- Abominable (150)
  • Shift Y -- Unspeakable (200)
  • Shift Z -- Beyond (500)

An oddity with the Universal Table: Shift X and Shift Y are almost identical. First of all, in my humble opinion, Shift Y should be 250, not 200. A yellow success should be 36, not 41, and Shift Z's yellow should be 31, not 36. Ignore what this does to the Class 1000 side of things -- those ranks are pointless to regular super-hero game-play.

No creation charts allowed you to roll up really powerful characters -- Unearthly and up (not even the Ultimate Powers Book.) But you could use a chart like this:

01-10  Good (10)
11-20  Excellent (20)
21-35  Remarkable (30)
36-55  Incredible (40)
56-70  Amazing (50)
71-80  Monstrous (75)
81-90  Unearthly (100)
91-94  Shift X (150)
95-99  Shift Y (200) or (250)
   00    Shift Z (500)

Or if you want to limit things to Shift X...

01-05  Typical (6)
06-15  Good (10)
16-25  Excellent (20)
26-45  Remarkable (30)
46-65  Incredible (40)
66-80  Amazing (50)
81-90  Monstrous (75)
91-98  Unearthly (100)
99-00  Shift X (150)

The Character Sheets!

In order to make the result table fit, I combined the Blunt & Edge, Fighting & Agility results columns into one. This means you can now Slam with a throwing blunt attack. Which actually fits -- how many times have you seen Cap's thrown Shield or Thor's flying Hammer slam an opponent into the next area? How about a certain cinematic manhole cover? -- "Superman...!"

This was the first revision. The idea was to record the numbers you need to roll for each color feat, per ability...

Marvel FASERIP Revised A

Then I decided to simply include a condensed version of the whole Universal Table showing the rolls needed for every rank...

And then I added lines...

And here's a sample character named Opal, an entity from the Darkforce Dimension -- that's all we know, that's all we'll ever know, because mysterious is better, every time. For a randomly rolled character, she makes a lot of sense. She can't control the Darkforce like Cloak, but she can generate it, and that stunning option is enormously powerful -- stun your opponent for 1d10 rounds if they fail their endurance roll. Yikes! I would allow and endurance roll every round to snap out of it. Maybe I would change it to touch only (she reaches an ethereal Darkforce hand inside you and grasps your heart...!) She makes a good villain, dangerous, and if she starts to lose, Bamph! -- she's gone to the Darkforce Dimension --she has to roll for that, of course.

And Martial Arts D allows her to slam and stun opponents with body armor who take no actual damage from the attack (I would ignore the fact that you're supposed to study your target for 2 rounds first, hate that kind of crap.) Very useful considering she only has typical strength, i.e., if she ever finds herself unable to generate Darkforce blasts. This Talent is an example of something we almost certainly overlooked or forgot while playing.

So play some Marvel, have a blast! And remember, when villains win, they usually leave the hero lying battered and unconscious in a dark alley or they capture them and leave them unattended in some sort of death trap. Playing one-on-one? -- introduce a new hero who has to rescue the first one (guest starring, the Marvelous _________!)

And keep track of the villains that you've captured, who are now locked up in a super-max facility. When in need of a random encounter, create a random breakout table. No need to explain how...

Could look something like this:

  1  Doctor Octopus  
  2  Vulture
  3  Scorpion
  4  Electro
  5  Sandman
  6  Hobgoblin
  7  Speed Demon
  8  Hydro-Man
  9  Roll Twice
10  Everyone on this list!

And what are they doing...?

  1  Robbing a bank  
  2  Hunting Spider-Man
  3  Hunting __________
  4  Building a new Secret Base
  5  Recruiting henchmen
  6  Raiding a scientific laboratory
  7  Planting a bomb
  8  Holding a hostage
  9  Marauding maniacally
10  Whereabouts unknown...

Their Secret Base is...

  1  In the sewers  
  2  The top floor of a sky-scraper
  3  An abandoned warehouse
  4  Underwater
  5  Basement of an old house
  6  A penthouse apartment
  7  A mobile truck or van
  8  A junkyard
  9  An old factory
10  Hidden in an iconic landmark

It's Clobberin' Time!

Castles & Crusades: Saving Throws... Focusing On Death

In the earliest editions of D&D, death , along with poison was your best save. In Castles & Crusades, the  death  save is a charism...