Digest Archives Vol 1 Issue 9

Desmarais, John
From: owner-champ-l-digest@sysabend.org
Sent: Monday, November 02, 1998 10:03 AM
To: champ-l-digest@sysabend.org
Subject: champ-l-digest V1 #7

champ-l-digest Monday, November 2 1998 Volume 01 : Number 007



In this issue:

Re: Shadow of a Doubt
Re: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.
Re: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.
Re: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.
Re: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.
Re: Cyber-Hero
Re: Cyber-Hero
Fantasy Hero Dream Magic
RE: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.
RE: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.
Re: Cyber-Hero
Re: Cyber-Hero
Re: Fantasy Hero Dream Magic
Fantasy Hero Dream Magic - Reply
Re: Shadow of a Doubt
Re: Cyber-Hero

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 09:00:40 -0500
From: Chris Hartjes <chris@ergmusic.com>
Subject: Re: Shadow of a Doubt

Mike Christodoulou wrote:
>
> "These are not the droids you're looking for."
>
> Suppose that Obi Wan could sway men's minds. But suppose that
> he didn't have any variety in his commands -- that the only
> thing he could do with his mind control is "These are not the
> droids you're looking for."
>
> More to the specific example I have in mind: a character who
> can project a single thought -- "Things are not what they seem.
> Doubt your senses." The actual effect or end result of such
> a command would depend on the target and the current situation.
>
> Mind control? limited to only this one command? What's the
> limitation worth? What's the mind control dice modifier?
>
> Or is this such a limited power that it is better modeled
> through another mechanism? Presence? Mental Illusion?
> Something else?

I seem to remember Obi-Wan saying that this sort of thing only works
against "the weak of mind". This leads me to believe that this ability
is Mind Control with the limitation that can send one thought as you
mentioned.

Chris Hartjes

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 00:28:36 +1000
From: "Lockie" <jonesl@cqnet.com.au>
Subject: Re: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.

>
>Really? I would say that it is generally agreed by Judeo-Christian
>ideology that deaths ordered by God are not murder, by definition.
>There is a general agreement that God can decide who dies whenever he
>wants, and this angle was only carrying out the edict of God.
>
>Filksinger
>

And you know angle's.. . often obtuse, but always obedient. .

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 00:20:57 +1000
From: "Lockie" <jonesl@cqnet.com.au>
Subject: Re: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.

>Angelic or other theology based characters are quite fun to build &
>play, regardless of your religion or lack thereof.
>
>A great disad: "Always obeys superiors."
> This could be God, St Peter....etc.
>
>This type of character is rather easy to keep to the GM's storyline with
>the above disad. This character can also be the most versatile &
>sometimes even most powerful character in a group.
<snippety-boo>
>The moral: don't let inexperienced or less thoughtful players play this
>type of character.
>
>

erm, it seems yer attaching certain assumptions to the character. if you
want angels that way, fine. But the 'original' angels did things like blow
cities to pieces, immolate utopian gardens, and kill everyone's first born
child. a zealous/vicious angle is also common in comics, and other sources.

(ps, does anyone known what happened when the justice league took on the
hosts of heaven? i missed that story. . )



>______________________________________________________
>Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

------------------------------

Date: 01 Nov 1998 09:52:49 -500
From: Stainless Steel Rat <ratinox@peorth.gweep.net>
Subject: Re: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.

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"E" == Egyptoid <egyptoid@yahoo.com> writes:

>> Now, this is an interesting one. Go read the Passover story; I'll wait.
>> Done, yet? Good.
E> sorry folks, he forgot to read the disclaimer.

Sorry, E, you forgot to read the rest of my message. When one presents an
argument, one attempts to support it. That is what I did.

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Rat <ratinox@peorth.gweep.net> \ Happy Fun Ball contains a liquid core,
PGP Key: at a key server near you! \ which, if exposed due to rupture, should
\ not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.

------------------------------

Date: 01 Nov 1998 09:57:13 -500
From: Stainless Steel Rat <ratinox@peorth.gweep.net>
Subject: Re: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.

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"F" == Filksinger <filkhero@usa.net> writes:

F> Really? I would say that it is generally agreed by Judeo-Christian
F> ideology that deaths ordered by God are not murder, by definition.

What I was taught in some 8 years of Catholic school and four years of high
school Catholic Christian Doctrine courses, murder is a sin. There are no
extenuating circumstances for it, none whatsoever.

As I said, mortal rules do not apply to angels or the Creator.

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\ exposure to Happy Fun Ball.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 13:14:12 -0800
From: jayphailey@juno.com (Jay P Hailey)
Subject: Re: Cyber-Hero

>>Oh. And how would you have handled the netrunning section?
>>
>>I imagine it would be some form of X-D movement...
>
>Possibly, or just Mental Combat with a cyber-spoo special effect.

Oooo. now there'a an Idea. I like it.


Jay P. Hailey <Meow!>

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------------------------------

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 20:30:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Surbrook <susano@access.digex.net>
Subject: Re: Cyber-Hero

On Sun, 1 Nov 1998, Jay P Hailey wrote:

> >>Oh. And how would you have handled the netrunning section?
> >>
> >>I imagine it would be some form of X-D movement...

I like (and prefer) the X-D move idea.

> >Possibly, or just Mental Combat with a cyber-spoo special effect.

This idea is used in TUM, BTW. Cybermind is a seperate catagory, I
believe.

> Oooo. now there'a an Idea. I like it.

***************************************************************************
* "'Cause I'm the god of destruction, that's why!" - Susano Orbatos,Orion *
* Michael Surbrook / susano@access.digex.net *
* Visit "Surbrook's Stuff' the Hero Games resource site at: *
* http://www.access.digex.net/~susano/index.html *
* Attacked Mystification Police / AD Police / ESWAT *
* Society for Creative Anachronism / House ap Gwystl / Company of St.Mark *
***************************************************************************

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 23:18:23 -0500
From: Scott Nolan <nolan@erols.com>
Subject: Fantasy Hero Dream Magic

How would you handle a spell that allowed you to enter into and fiddle
with another person's dreams?

X-Dim Travel?

Telepathy?

Something else?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For in far foreign fields, from Dunkirk to Belgrade,
Lie the soldiers and chiefs of the Irish Brigade.
Thomas Davis, Battle Eve of the Brigade
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Scott C. Nolan

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 22:35:46 -0800
From: "Filksinger" <filkhero@usa.net>
Subject: RE: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.

From: Lockie
>
> >
> >Really? I would say that it is generally agreed by Judeo-Christian
> >ideology that deaths ordered by God are not murder, by definition.
> >There is a general agreement that God can decide who dies
> whenever he
> >wants, and this angle was only carrying out the edict of God.
> >
> >Filksinger
> >
>
> And you know angle's.. . often obtuse, but always obedient. .
>

"Hello, Harbinger of Justice? Do bad puns count? Really? Hey, have I
got one for you...."

Filksinger

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 22:35:49 -0800
From: "Filksinger" <filkhero@usa.net>
Subject: RE: Disadvantages for an angelic player character.

From: Stainless Steel Rat
>
>
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> "F" == Filksinger <filkhero@usa.net> writes:
>
> F> Really? I would say that it is generally agreed by
> Judeo-Christian
> F> ideology that deaths ordered by God are not murder, by
> definition.
>
> What I was taught in some 8 years of Catholic school and
> four years of high
> school Catholic Christian Doctrine courses, murder is a
> sin. There are no
> extenuating circumstances for it, none whatsoever.

So? I just stated that deaths ordered by God are _not_ murder,
according to a large portion of people in the Judeo-Christian faiths.
Therefore, what the nuns thought about _murder_ was irrelevant, as
these deaths would not, in such a view, be murder. If the nuns, for
example, did not consider these killings "murder", then the could talk
about "murder" all day long, and it would have nothing to do with
_any_ deaths ordained by God, no matter who committed them.

> As I said, mortal rules do not apply to angels or the Creator.

Which has nothing to do with whether or not deaths ordered by God are
murder, except in that it confirms that a death ordered by anyone else
that would be murder is not murder when ordered by God.

If deaths ordained by God are not murder, then the killings by angels,
ordained by God, are not murder.

Now, if you want to argue that Judeo-Christians believe that the
killings ordained by God _are_ murder, then that is a different
subject. However, we are already getting rather far afield.

Filksinger

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 02:17:01 -0800 (PST)
From: "Steven J. Owens" <puff@netcom.com>
Subject: Re: Cyber-Hero

Michael Surbrook writes:

> On Sun, 1 Nov 1998, Jay P Hailey wrote:
>>>>Oh. And how would you have handled the netrunning section?
>>>>
>>>>I imagine it would be some form of X-D movement...
>
> I like (and prefer) the X-D move idea.
>
>>>Possibly, or just Mental Combat with a cyber-spoo special effect.
>
> This idea is used in TUM, BTW. Cybermind is a seperate catagory, I
> believe.

Just for the record, I favor just using RTG Cyberpunk (preferably
heavily modified first edition :-) over Hero for doing Cyberpunk,
unless you have a reason to need Hero's flexibility, and have the type
of players you need to support it. In general, a cyberpunk game
should be very fast and very deadly. Combat should be abrupt, short,
and shockingly violent.

Reasons to use Hero for doing CP: 1) transgenre games, 2) your
players want to come up with odd things outside the scope of typical
CP games, 3) your players want the tactical options that Hero combat
provides (and are good enough both with the system and as players to
keep from bogging down combat).

That said, how to run CP in Hero, well there're three main
special topics you need to deal with. Weapons & Gadgets, cyberware,
and cyberspace.

Weapons are important because you have to have the cool,
high-tech, devastating weapons. You'll also probably need to put a
lot of up-front work into designing all sorts of weaponry and defense
systems and other gadgets. This sort of stuff infests the genre, and
you can't be stopping to improvise or write up something every five
seconds. Plus, you need to decide what "state of the art" is for your
game, so you can keep things within bounds.

One approach to consider is just writing up "descriptions" of the
gadgets and not telling the players their stats. Then you can just
improvise the stats on the spot, which is usually feasible to keep it
in bounds. Only do this if you're good at being consistent about this
stuff. Even if I were going to predesign everything, I think I'd keep
most of the game mechanics from the players, to enhance the genre
feel...

Weapons and defenses in general should be skewed towards
violence. Historically and in genre, "it's always much easier to
destroy than create." No wait, that's a different genre. Oh well,
the principle still holds true. Besides, the cyberpunk genre is one
where the players should always be on edge, never safe and secure.

I highly recommend using some sort of optional hit-location damage
rules. That was one thing I loved about the old Friday Night Fire Fight
rules; they didn't give you damage in hit points or something, they just
figured out how severe the wound was, then described the effects of a
would of such severity on such a body location.

If this seems like it's making combat unfeasibly risky, well,
welcome to reality (not to mention cyberpunk). Most of the time combat
*should* be unfeasibly risky. The players should almost always be
outgunned (unless they work for a large corp, in which case they only
gain a slight edge, since their opponents will often work for large
corps, and in addition they have to worry more about their own backers
selling them out for a slight advantage or for office politics...).
They'll have to think their way around obstacles and spend most of
their time avoiding combat like the plague.

Cyberware is mostly the same picture as guns & gadgets, except
you have to worry more about game balance issues. R. Talsorian used
the "cyber psychosis" excuse for game balance and now it's become
stock in the role-playing cyberpunk genre. However, it wasn't a big
part of the literature before then. Still, it makes enough sense.
Let's face it, most people don't deal too well with major body
modifications (tatoos and piercings don't count).

Additionally, there are *always* little side effects that are
constantly intruding on your life. Heck, even something as simple as
this ceramic tooth I have in my head has little side effects; the
nerve is non-existent, which makes it have a peculiarly "dead"
feeling, and I discovered a few weeks ago when I took an airplane
flight that the change in pressure made it ache a little and feel
somewhat loose. All of this was a little bit disconcerting.

Imagine how it feels to have your arm replaced.

Other game-balance factors include the biological load that
replacing major chunks of your flesh puts on the remaining system.
Your body wasn't *designed* to do this kinda stuff, and it's not going
to react well to it. Even assuming that wide-spectrum anti-rejection
drugs have dealt with the whole rejection issue, there's the
possibilities of infections and complications. Many patients who die
in hospitals, die not from the illness that brought them there, but
from infections and complications from being ill.

Even if you just enforce fiat game balance (the best kind - "No,
you can't have that!") you have to figure out where you're going to
have to draw the lines, and what procedures are commonly available at
the local mall bod-mod shop, while others are only available on the
black market. What powers are and are not available, and what's the
social acceptability? How will different sectors of society react to
obvious cyberware?

Again, I recommend writing up your own descriptions of things and
keeping the players in the dark. On the other hand, don't make the
options too straight-forward. Read through the descriptions of
cyberware options in the various Cyberpunk role-playing games. Put
some down as "plug 'n play" options that can be purchased at the local
body shop, put others down in categories of their own, as related
technologies. Then, when a player wants to have augmented strength,
they don't just purchase an option, "One from column A and one form
column B", they have to get into decisions about bone augmentation,
whether they want cultured or synthetic muscle mass, or motorized
joints, etc.

In general, lean towards cyberware that is more sophisticated and
less obviously powerful. The body-plated walking tank should be
almost non-existent - and usually only as a carefully controlled
military weapon (a'la Robocop), not as a free player character
wandering the streets.

So that kind of cyberware should be generally not available,
mainly because there's little public demand for it (because most
people in the game world aren't player characters and are worried
about being socially ostracized by 99.99% of society, and shot at by
the other .01%). Even when it can be gotten, there's a limit to how
much can be had before it becomes obvious - and the player becomes a
"shoot on sight" target, the same way anybody walking down main street
with an M60 machine gun and a grenade launcher would be.

Speaking of weapons, I'll leave the enforcement of "reality",
with regards to assault weapons, grenade launchers, etc, to you, but
keep in mind that Cyberpunk players will tend to exercise an
understandable paranoid reaction to being a target so much of the
time...

Cyberspace is a little bit trickier than the other topics, mainly
because it diverges so much from the main thrust of the game. There's
a great temptation to make cyberspace runs a regular part of the game,
but that's something you have to consider strategically. The role you
want cyberspace to play in your game should determine the mechanics you
choose to use.

For example, the decker will commonly be jacked in and absent
from the party for large chunks of time, off hacking away, just like a
real life programmer. Or you might favor the special effect that
cyberspace moves at lightning speeds and much more happens during a
given span of time in cyberspace than in regular space, which means
you have the opposite - and potentially much more awkward - situation
of the rest of the players sitting around, waiting for the decker to
finish the run.

In either case, you also have the issue, similar to the issue
with mental powers in supers games, that you've changed the scope of
the game itself by adding a whole new area to the regular combat and
skill rolls areas. Unless you pay attention to the balance (both in
mechanics and in roleplaying & GMing) issues, you'll inevitably trip
yourself up.

Cyberspace can be a background element, in which case most of the
time it can be handled with a simple skill roll. Or it can be
slightly more involved and you can have several skill rolls. Perhaps
a group of related skills for scouting out a target, setting up
cutouts, infiltrating a system, breaking encryption, hijacking
authority, programming trojan horses, back doors and viruses,
subverting external peripherals, etc.

For this approach, set up a reasonable flow chart of events and
steps to carrying out common cyberspace tasks and figure out which
skill rolls apply at which stages. How detailed the flow chart gets
depends on how big a role you want cyberspace to play in the game.

If it's going to be a cyberspace-focused game, then you can just
define Cyberspace rules of your own. Somewhere, buried among hundreds
of disks and zip disks, I have some fairly interesting rules I roughed
out back in 1991 or so, for running cyberspace with each system being
an END reserve and programs being complex powers pulled out of a
hacking VPP and powered off the END reserve. Think in terms of
defining the cyberspace world via powers.

Or you can just make up your own cyberspace system from whole
cloth and call it "teleport to cyberspace dimension, leaves body
behind". Now you have to define all of the laws of the cyberspace
universe, which is pretty much the same as if you were just designing
all the rules from scratch and adding them to the game.

If you're doing a transgenre game where it becomes more important
how cyberspace rules interact with the regular rules, then, again
depending on how big a role you want cyberspace to play in the game,
you have some choices. You can either use "mental powers only affects
computers" or you can build your own set of equivalent powers using
the sense rules and a transformation attack to transform the programs
in the computer.

Of the approaches above, I think I favor using either: a complex
set of skill rolls (along with a map of standard stages and tasks in
cyberspace) for a regular game, along with good storytelling, in which
case cyberspace takes about the same role that "lab work" or some
other skill-based area takes. Or using a subset of the hero rules to
define the physics of the cyberspace dimension and see how you can
play with that. In practical terms, though, the latter course means
the game is all about cyberspace. Which can be fun enough in its own
right.

Steven J. Owens
puff@netcom.com

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 18:59:48 -0800 (PST)
From: shaw@caprica.com (Wayne Shaw)
Subject: Re: Cyber-Hero

>Michael Surbrook writes:

> Reasons to use Hero for doing CP: 1) transgenre games, 2) your
>players want to come up with odd things outside the scope of typical
>CP games, 3) your players want the tactical options that Hero combat
>provides (and are good enough both with the system and as players to
>keep from bogging down combat).

Don't forget 4) Your players are comfortable with the Hero System, know the
mechanics well, and don't see a reason to learn a new system simply to play
a new genre. System portability is often one of the draws of games like
Hero and GURPS.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 08:48:00 +0000
From: "J. W. Eiler" <jw_eiler@bellsouth.net>
Subject: Re: Fantasy Hero Dream Magic

Date sent: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 23:18:23 -0500
To: champ-l@sysabend.org
From: Scott Nolan <nolan@erols.com>
Subject: Fantasy Hero Dream Magic

>
> How would you handle a spell that allowed you to enter into and fiddle
> with another person's dreams?
>
> X-Dim Travel?
>
> Telepathy?
>
> Something else?

OK, it's time to admit to my "munchkin" tendencies.

I tend to try to straddle that grey area between "min-maxing" and "rules-
raping." I try to get the most for my points, without violating the letter of
the Hero System rules. In a situation like this, I personally would go for
the cheapest point combination that would let me do what I wanted.

That being said, the question you asked is a "special effects" question --
the special effect of "fiddling with people's dreams" is not really what
the power does, just how the power works. If you want to know how to
"point up" the power, you have to determine what the power does.

Does the charachter try to simply interfere with dream sleep, so that
their opponent is poorly rested the next day? Then it's probably a drain
against DEX and INT, with "recovers 5 pts. per day" and a limitation of
"will recover all points when the victim gets a good night's sleep."

Is the purpose of the spell to influence the charachter's actions? Then
it's a form of Mind Control.

Does the charachter just want to find out what a person is dreaming?
That's Telepathy. Can the person affect the dreams -- i.e. make the
dreams into nightmares, or perhaps make nightmares into calmer
dreams? That's Mental Illusions. Either way, the player will have to
either be within line of sight, or they will also have to buy Mind Scan to
help find the victim.

I wouldn't use "X-Dim Travel" unless the GM says that the "Dream-Time"
is a separate dimension. Even then, the player would have to have other
powers to affect the dreams.

Hope this helps.


J. W. Eiler

But I cut upon every timber,
And I carved into every stone:
After me cometh a builder.
Tell him -- I, too, have known.
Rudyard Kipling

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 12:57:46 +0000
From: Stephen McGinness <MCGINNESSS@parliament.uk>
Subject: Fantasy Hero Dream Magic - Reply

I think I'd be inclined to go with Telepathy, as you would have to read the mind in
the first place. It is, after all a kind of communication if visual instead of verbal.
You aren't trying to change reality (mental illusions) or control their thought
processes (mind control) but project information in a visual fashion.

If that is all you want to do, i.e., see and perhaps insert dreams then I'd go with
telepathy.


Stephen

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 08:22:38 -0500
From: Mike Christodoulou <Cypriot@concentric.net>
Subject: Re: Shadow of a Doubt

At 03:40 PM 10/31/98 -0500, Mike Christodoulou wrote:
>More to the specific example I have in mind: a character who
>can project a single thought -- "Things are not what they seem.
>Doubt your senses." The actual effect or end result of such
>a command would depend on the target and the current situation.


Problem solved. For anyone who's interested, the "Headless
Hangman" example in _Justice_Not_Law_ uses a 6d6 Mind Control,
Set Effect (flee in terror, -1/2).


====================== =================================================
Mike Christodoulou "Never doubt that a small group of committed
Cypriot@Concentric.Net citizens can change the world. In fact, it is
(770) 662-5605 the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead
====================== =================================================

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 06:59:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Brian Wong <rook@shell.infinex.com>
Subject: Re: Cyber-Hero

> Just for the record, I favor just using RTG Cyberpunk (preferably
> heavily modified first edition :-) over Hero for doing Cyberpunk,
> unless you have a reason to need Hero's flexibility, and have the type
> of players you need to support it. In general, a cyberpunk game
> should be very fast and very deadly. Combat should be abrupt, short,
> and shockingly violent.
>
Where I to not use Cyber Hero to do the genre (I'm in the minority
that likes the book); I'd choose GURPS. Better researched world info and
it's not a character class based system like CP 2.0.2.0.
Though GURPS' adaptation of the genre has serious play balance
problems if you allow any armor or guns... and not allowing them would be
odd given the genre.
Though it can be worked out if you watch every piece of equipment
allowed in the game. Which was not as hard to do as it sounds.

- --
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__ Super WebRing http://orion.supersoldiers.com/heroes/webring.html
/.)\ http://www.infinex.com/~rook/SH/SHlinks.html Super Hero Links
\(@/ http://www.infinex.com/~rook/SH/ Super Hero RPG Site

------------------------------

End of champ-l-digest V1 #7
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