Showing posts from August, 2013

Steampunk Redux

For your consideration: Things got really bad in New York City after the second Draft Riots. They were never too good. they got worse when the War Between the States started. The Republic needed soldiers and as always the poor supplied them. Immigrants coming off the boats were dragged off to serve in exchange for citizenship. The war is in its thirteenth year and every year has been worse than the ones before it. The British tripods sold to the Rebels turned the tide against the Union at Gettysburg. The only thing that saved Washington D.C. and the nation was the new lightning guns. Now both sides are nearly bankrupt and the wonder weapons becoming rare. Soldiers are going to win this, men shot up and rebuilt with clockwork arms and legs who just keep being sent back to the front lines. A Rebel submersible got into New York Harbor a few nights ago and used a gun that shot flames to set fire to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The fire gutted half the borough but the war goes on. They sho

Mystery Men Revealed Pt. 4 The Wild Die

One of the core mechanics of the d6 family is the wild die. There seems to be three opinions on the wild die: people love it, hate it or are doing it wrong. Basically you're supposed to roll one die as the wild die (which should be a different color to cut down on the number of knife fights.) If the die comes up '6' you roll it again and add the second roll to your total. if the second roll is also '6' you repeat. If the die comes up '1' then you remove it from the total and also remove your highest die roll. If this causes you to fail your roll the gm can then get inventive about just what went wrong. Supposedly some gms consider a '6' on the wild die to indicate success no matter what the rest of the roll is and a '1' to be an epic failure. This interpretation ticks off a lot of people but I suggest it with a few tweaks for a mystery men game. In the first place a success with the wild die doesn't let you do the impossible. A norm

Mystery Men Revealed Pt. 3 Men and Gods

Super strength is one the most common if not most common super powers (I'm pretty sure that's an oxymoron.) Wikipedia defines it as ranging from just above that of a powerful weightlifter to nearly limitless. So far I've dealt with more or less human characters now I'm taking on those of god-like stature. In the 40's there were a lot of them. Their strength levels were all pretty ludicrous. Super strength often leads to greatly inflated character stats. Captain Marvel was shown restarting the earth's rotation, surviving the explosion of a billion tons of TNT, and stopping the eruption of a volcano (and that was just in one story!) I don't even want to think about how many dice in lifting and stamina he'd have. Super strength falls into two categories: limited and (for most purposes) unlimited. Limited super strength is anything between 6d and 10d in lifting and stamina. Heavy firepower can still mess these people up. It's the gm's call on jus

Mystery Men Revealed Pt. 2

Okay we're making Golden Age style mystery men characters and we need a quick and dirty way to do it. I'm using Mini Six and looking taking a long hard look at the 'Making the Game Your Own' Section. Most d6 games default to rolling a number of dice you get by adding attributes and skills and trying to beat a number based on the difficulty of whatever you're doing. I'm going to break from that and use the No Attributes rule. Instead of the default 7d ice for skills you get 25d. I could have just added more attribute dice but I'm trying to keep it simple and fast. Attributes are all considered to be 2d. That's what most people roll for something you have no skill in and what you add to any skills you purchase. It varies for heroes. Bear in mind a normal person would have 2d to roll in most situations and maybe 3d for their profession. A thug or policeman probably has 3d. Most characters should have at least 4d in brawling and dodge. What skills do


Before I start working out the rules for my Mystery Men game I'd like to address crunchkins (I don't think I ever heard that term before, if I invented it yay!) A crunchkin is a player who desperately needs a rule for everything. They are attracted to extensive and well developed rules systems and often nest in GURPS and Hero System forums among others. I hasten to add that they are a small minority of gamers and using a crunchy system doesn't mean you're automatically a crunchkin. Crunchkins are not exactly rules lawyers, those guys try to work the rules for their own gain. A crunchkin just wants to be sure they are doing things the right way. Some very good friends of mine are crunchkins and they're great roleplayers and gms. Crunchkins probably will not like the way I set up my game. I'm usually the sort of gm who hides behinds screen so the players can't see I'm improvising like mad and most of my notes consist of sketches of My Little Pony chara

Mystery Men Revealed

I was perusing the public domain super hero sites and naturally started thinking about using these characters in gaming. Here's my thoughts on running a mystery men style game. When you're dealing with Golden Age characters background and continuity were not foremost in the minds of their creators. I've often written a page or two of background for a character I've run. I doubt Bob Kane could have written a hundred words about Batman's personality when he first drew him. Most of these guys just threw on a dyed tights and started fighting crime. that was their origin. If they were supers they found a pill, elixir, ray, magic spell that gave them their powers and then they just threw on tights and started fighting crime. So, say you pick a character out of the public domain what makes this character stand out? The answer is probably not a lot! After all if they were in public domain they probably lacked a certain staying power. Not always, sometimes companies went

The Wardrobe of Justice

You have your mask (if any) you have your cape (if any, I don't judge.) Both are optional but the rest of the costume kind of ties things together and keeps you from being socked with indecent exposure charges (I want to see the cop with the balls to ticket Dr. Manhattan though.) There are several costume genres. Realistic, also known as cheap, means you're buying stuff off the rack or maybe fighting crime in normal clothing. Normal clothing has a tremendous advantage for the secret identity user. No one can go through your closet and discover your union suit thus outing you (That thing? I wore it to Mardi Gras. Yeah I know it's bulletproof and flame retardant; have you ever been to New Orleans?!) As an alternative to street clothes a hero could wear athletic gear (enter ... the Quarterback!) Some rigs, particularly for dirt bike riders looks made for supers. They also can afford some protection (speaking of which an athletic cup could pay for itself many times over eve

The Cape Controversy

Superman or Batman without a cape smacks of heresy. I shudder to think the powers that be almost decided to remove Supe's cape for his latest movie flight. The consensus is Superman started the cape fad. The golden age Superman's costume was inspired by a) circus strongmen and b) acrobats. Historically some acrobats used their capes in their acts to control their falls. This makes sense if you remember Superman originally didn't fly but make extraordinary leaps. So I suppose any human grasshoppers could use a cape likewise. The movie The Incredibles gave capes a bad reputation listing numerous wearers who suffered due to getting their cape snagged. I think they have a point however a super who can't tear his cape off in a pinch or design a quick release for it isn't much of a hero. Capes can keep you warm on a cold stakeout or protect you from the elements. I suppose a world with flying people also has room for bulletproof capes to add to a hero's protecti

Super Hero Fashion

Let's talk super fashion namely: costumes. The hardbitten urban warrior types refer to these as uniforms. Whatever. They are hardly uniforms unless you have a team wearing the same outfit which could have advantages as I will discuss later. First up -masks and gloves. Masks- masks serve to conceal a person's identity (d'uh.) If you're really serious about this a full face mask is the only thing that will do. This has a downside of possibly interfering with breathing and talking and if your super is going to an awards dinner in his honor he'll have a hard time getting sweet and sour shrimp past it. Mouth holes are just icky. Then again if you're really serious about not being outed the first and foremost rule is don't make scheduled appearances in public! Sadly these day even wet behind the ear cookie bandits have their own cel-phones so someone is going to take you picture and with the face recognition software on the market today only a full mask or simil

Supers and the Rule of 15

I had an idea for a super setting for an RPG or maybe a novella or three. Being prone to overthink I wanted to start by setting power levels. Sadly I can't just assume the hero can lift a building in his hands (unless he was using TK to mimic super strength you'd end up with a demolished building and that'd make a difference to me.) So I came up with the 'Rule of 15.' The Golden Age Superman in his earliest appearance could lift a car that weighed around 3000 pounds. A very fit human male could lift 200 lbs. So 3000/200= 15. Super powers magnify human capabilities by 15 where applicable. In DC Heroes terms this is a puny +4APs for a stat around 7-8 APs which is still pretty good. You could rip apart a normal car or flip an armored truck. In Open d6 I'm not as sure. I'm still trying to work out benchmarks for it but it seems to equate to +5d which is also pretty good. So supers wouldn't be able to flip tanks. A brick still could probably run up to o