Category Archives: Random musings

Champions

Patriot, one of my Champions Online characters Recently I started playing the MMO Champion Online. Champions Online is based on Champions, Hero Games‘ award winning superhero roleplaying game. Although I enjoy the MMO very much so far, I don’t know anything about the pen & paper game it was based on. So I started to do some research.
I quickly noticed that although the MMO is based on the Champions Universe, it’s not using the HERO System! But Hero Games is planning to release a book to allow you to recreate your Champions Online characters for the pen & paper game.

The first edition of Champions was published back in 1981 and it was actually one of the first games to use a point-buy system for character creation instead of randomly generating stats by rolling dice. It also took a tool kit approach for power creation much like what you may know from the more recent Savage Worlds game.
In 1987 the Champions rules system were released as the generic roleplaying game HERO System that allowed play in all genres. Recently the 6th edition of HERO has been released.

The HERO System
HERO SYSTEM 6th Edition Characters in a HERO System game are described by Characteristics (like Strength and Intelligence), Skills, Perks (special resources the character has access to like money, contacts, etc.), Talents (unusual abilities and powers better than Skills but less powerful than actual Powers) and Powers. Powers are the superhuman abilities of golden age superheroes, magic of dark sorcerers or even psychic abilities. In the HERO System Powers are effect-based. So mechanically a superhero’s Flame Blast power may be similar to a wizards Magic Missile power. Powers can be customized by numerous modifiers, which effects not only how the Power works but also how much it costs during character creation.

Most check are made by rolling 3d6. A roll is successful if you get a result equal or less than some given difficulty. A roll of 3 always succeeds, a roll of 18 always fails. Although the basic mechanic is quite easy, the HERO System is notorious for the math involved in play and character creation.

The Champions Universe
The setting of the original Champions game (and its later editions) and the aforementioned MMO is the so-called Champions Universe. From what I’ve seen so far, the Champions Universe is a golden age superhero setting which reminded me a lot of what I know and love from classic Marvel and DC comic books. Alas there’s less information about the setting available on the internet than I hoped. If you have played in the Champions Universe before, feel free to post some more info in the comments below.

I have to admit I still haven’t read any of the Champions roleplaying game nor any of the HERO System books. The only sources I had were the internet (mainly Wikipedia and the official Hero Games site and a 5-paged introduction to HERO System 5th Edition). But I have to admit I am quite intrigued by the way this game handles superpowers. And I always had a soft spot for the Superhero genre, so I may give Champions a try.

Are there any Champions/HERO System veterans with us? Can you please share some of your thoughts on the system and what edition of the game would you recommend for new players? Any advice is appreciated!

10 RPG geeks you should follow on Twitter

Twitter logo The main problem when you start with Twitter is that you often don’t know who to follow. Aside from millions of spammers, internet marketers and people who just tweet about what they had for breakfast, there are actually quite a few RPG geeks that are worth your time:

@unclebear
Uncle Bear aka Berin Kinsman is AFAIK the only member of the RPG Bloggers Network who made it into the famous “100 Geeks You Should Be Following On Twitter” post. He was called the father figure of RPG blogging and rightfully so!

@chgowiz
Chgwoiz aka Michael Shorten is my personal expert on all things old-school. His excellent Swords & Wizardry Quick Start was my first introduction into retro-gaming.

@chattydm
Philippe-Antoine Ménard aka ChattyDM writes one of the top blogs of the RPG Bloggers Network, “Musings of the Chatty DM” and is one of its “founding fathers”.

@rdonoghue
Rob Donoghue is one of the guys behind Evil Hat Productions, the company that brought you RPGs like FATE, Spirit of the Century or Don’t Rest Your Head. His tweets are protected so you have to ask nicely to get permission to follow him. But don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.

@thefreerpgblog
Rob Lang is not only the writer of the Free RPG Blog but also the designer of ICAR (a free SF RPG) and an awesome 24-hour-RPG called “Cloudship Atlantis”. If you are into free roleplaying games, he’s the guy to follow!

@robindlaws
Robin D. Laws is a game industry veteran and designer of a lot of interesting games including Heroquest, the Gumshoe system, the Dying Earth RPG and many more.

@rpgcircus
RPG Circus is a podcast hosted by Jeff Uurtamo, Mark Meredith and Zachary Houghton, who are all members of the RPG Bloggers Network. RPG Circus is my favorite RPG related podcast and if you want to keep up with all their updates, you should follow them on Twitter. The three hosts are also on Twitter, so you might be interested in following their respective tweets as well.

@greywulf
Greywulf aka Robin Stacey is a RPG blogger from the UK who is known for his awesome CGI renderings, his love for Mutants & Masterminds and recently for some great posts about the modern age D&D 4th Edition campaign he’s currently running. And not to forget that he wrote the awesome Microlite20!

@majyc
Joshua Macy (I hope this time I spelled his name right) is another member of our RPG Bloggers Network. He helped me a lot when I was writing my film noir roleplaying game (thanks a lot, Joshua!) and currently he’s also working on his own superhero game called “Kapow!

@viricordova
Viriatha Cordova (I still don’t know her real name) is one of the few female RPG bloggers out there and she’s even more special because she is also a 40-something housewife. I always enjoy reading her blog and I always enjoy chatting with her over Twitter.

Of course this list is far from exhaustive, but these guys should be enough to get you started. If you feel I missed a few important people feel free to post their Twitter ID into the comments below!

GURPS anyone?

GURPS Basic Set When you browse through the RPGBN member blogs you read a lot about D&D 4th Edition, D&D 3rd Edition, old-school D&D (and all those retro-clones), Savage Worlds, White Wolf’s World of Darkness games and sometimes even about some obscure indie game. But curiously GURPS seems to be absent from the network.

From what I gather Steve Jackson Games is still one of the major RPG publishers and since they release new GURPS books regularly, I am pretty sure someone is buying their books, but it obviously plays only a minor role in the RPG blogosphere.

Did I just miss the GURPS-related posts or is GURPS on the decline?