Blind: A combined condition. The character cannot see, so everything effectively has full visual concealment from him. He is hindered, visually unaware, and vulnerable, and may be impaired or disabled for activities where vision is a factor.A lot of people (or at least a lot of people like you, who read blogs about role-playing games in their spare time) talk about "mainstream game design" in terms of being something they don't want to do. But what is it? Why do people make it? What can we learn from it and attempts to avoid it?
It's not exactly Dungeons and Dragons. Editions of D&D take an unusually long time to produce and are pretty fraught due to fan and corporate interest, so every edition of D&D--technically the world's most mainstream RPG-- inevitably includes:
-a mishmash of relics left over from how things used to be (a thing called "saving throws" which are just a kind of stat check in every other game)-trailing indicators of current trends (inspiration, traits), and-innovations (advantage/disadvantage)
Instead, I'd propose that the best way to find an example of the zero-experiment flattened-bobcat dead-center of the middle-of-the-road at any given time is to ask Green Ronin.
The Green Ronin name is not especially attached to any specific property (unlike White Wolf and World of Darkness) or system (unlike Pinnacle and Savage Worlds) or designer (unlike Pelgrane and Robin Laws) or even design philosophy (unlike most smaller indie presses) and they have a record of license-chasing, including Dragon Age, Song of Ice & Fire, D&D/D20 and DC Comics.
Green Ronin is to RPGs what Dark Horse would be to comics if you subtracted out Sin City, Hellboy, Concrete and anything else anyone made by someone who was paid well and wanted to be there. They'll make you whatever you want, poorly, and throw in a copy of Predator vs Buck Rogers, free.
Why DC Adventures? Though it is almost a decade old there are two reasons for this--one good, one bad.
The bad reason is: the DC Adventures game is the only Green Ronin book I can get through without falling asleep. I'll need a picture from a different, more recent, GR game to show you what I mean:
The good reason is: it is probably their most popular game. If you add in the parent system--Mutants & Masterminds, it definitely is. It had a whole line, with a whole line developer.
Has "normal" moved on since this game was put out? Yes. But what's important isn't the trends in game design they're aping, it's the utter thoughtlessness with which they do it.
Halfway between skills and powers, advantages are minor abilities characters have, allowing them to do things others cannot. They range from special combat maneuvers to things like financial resources, contacts, and so forth. Many advantages have no rank, or rather just one rank; a character either has the advantage (and the benefits that it grants) or does not. Other advantages may have multiple ranks, like abilities and skills, measuring their effectiveness.
Each rank represents a range of measures. Time rank 4 is actually all measures between 1 and 2 minutes, and time rank 16 is everything between 2 and 4 days! So if you’re looking for a measurement that’s not on the table, pick the next highest one that is; so 12 hours is a time rank of 13 (more than 8 hours, but less than 16), and 6 miles is a distance rank of 11 (more than 4 miles, but less than 8).
The time it takes a Speed 14 hero to cover 30 miles is rank –1, or 3 seconds.
Don’t directly add ranks. Putting rank 4 distance together with rank 6 distance is not rank 10 distance! Rank 4 is a distance measurement of 500 feet. Rank 6 is 600 yards (1,800 feet). Adding the measurements, you get about 2,300 feet. If you directly added the ranks, you’d get rank 10 distance, or 4 miles! If you have different ranks, it is best to either handle them separately or convert them to measurements, add the measurements together, and convert them back to a rank. In the previous example, 2,300 feet is rank 7 distance (around half a mile).
Measurements are approximate. Especially at the higher end, where each rank represents a wide range of measurements, the Measurements Table isn’t intended to provide precise values; it’s just a ballpark estimate so you have an idea of how things work in the context of the game. Don’t focus too heavily on precise answers, just use the table for general guidelines.
To determine the distance a hero covers in a given amount of time, add the rank of the time to the rank of the hero’s speed, with normal human ground speed being rank 0. So a normal person can cover 2 miles in an hour (time 9 + speed 0 = 9, the rank for 2 miles). In fact, with normal human speeds, you can just directly compare the time and distance columns of the table! As another example, a hero with Flight 12 can cover 8,000 miles in an hour! That’s 12 (speed) + 9 (time) = 21, the rank for 8,000 miles. The same character can go an amazing 16 miles in just 6 seconds (the time of one action round)!
You move through soil and sand at a speed rank equal to your Burrowing rank, minus 5. So Burrowing 8, for example, lets you move through the ground at speed rank 3 (around 16 MPH).
“Hindered: A hindered character moves at half normal speed (–1 speed rank). Immobile supersedes hindered.”
Restrained: A restrained character is hindered and vulnerable. If the restraints are anchored to an immobile object, the character is immobile rather than hindered. If restrained by another character, the restrained character is immobile but may be moved by the restraining character.Incapacitated: An incapacitated character is defenseless, stunned, and unaware. Incapacitated characters generally also fall prone, unless some outside force or aid keeps them standing.Staggered: A staggered character is dazed and hindered.
Power level 10 heroes may have a balance of attack and effect, defense and resistance, or may go for being stronger on one side than the other, having great combat skill, but comparatively limited damage, for example, or great Toughness, but lowered defenses.
You can “edit” a scene to grant your hero an advantage by adding or changing certain details. For example, a hero is fighting a villain with plant-based powers in a scientific lab. You deduce the villain may be weakened by defoliants, so you ask the GM if there are any chemicals in the lab you can throw together to create a defoliant. The Gamemaster requires a hero point to add that detail and says the right chemicals are close at hand. Now you just have to use them!This option is intended to give players more input into the story and allow their heroes chances to succeed, but it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for planning and cleverness, just as a way to enhance them.
You can spend a hero point to gain the benefits of one rank of an advantage you don’t already have until the end of your next turn (see the Advantages chapter).
Accurate Attack Trade effect DC for attack bonus.All-out Attack Trade active defense for attack bonus.Chokehold Suffocate an opponent you have successfully grabbed.Close Attack +1 bonus to close attack checks per rank.Defensive Attack Trade attack bonus for active defense bonus.…Throwing Mastery +1 damage bonus with thrown weapons per rank.Uncanny Dodge Not vulnerable when surprised or caught off-guard.Weapon Bind Free disarm attempt when you actively defend.Weapon Break Free smash attack when you actively defend.
You can spend a hero point to get sudden inspiration in the form of a hint, clue, or bit of help from the GM.
Some staples of the DC comic books, while enjoyable in the stories themselves, don’t always translate well to the medium of roleplaying games. You might want to take these “translation issues” into account when planning your adventures.DEFEAT AND CAPTUREHeroes in the comics are frequently defeated early on in a story. The typical structure is: the heroes encounter the villain, suffer a defeat or reversal, and then come back from defeat to overcome the villain.In longer stories there may be several reversals: the villain beats the heroes and escapes, then beats the heroes and puts them in a deathtrap, which they must escape to make their final confrontation with the bad guy.DC adventures encourages this kind of narrative structure by awarding hero points for defeats, capture, and similar complications suffered by the heroes. Essentially, the more the heroes struggle early on in the game, the more resources (in this case, hero points) they have to overcome the villain later.Defeat in the comics isn’t a serious problem, since it usually just results in the heroes facing another obstacle, like a deathtrap, rather than ending the story. Some players, however, don’t care for the idea of defeat, even when there is some kind of reward for it. This may come from other RPGs, where defeat has much more serious consequences, up to and including the death of the heroes! It can also come from associating any kind of defeat or set-back with “losing the game.” These players may overreact to potential defeats in the game.The best way of handling this is to discuss it with your players. Point out that an early defeat by the villain is not necessarily a “loss,” but a complication, and that they earn hero points for complications, leading up to the point where they can use their earned points against the villain. If this doesn’t address the issue, you may need to give the heroes complications other than defeats, at least at first. When you do have the heroes defeated as a complication, make sure the players all know that there is no chance for their heroes to avoid this once you spring it on them, to minimize the opportunity for them to struggle and rail hopelessly against it.
Initial encounters also provide opportunities for the heroes to earn hero points. This means the early encounters in the adventure don’t have to go well for the heroes. In fact, it’s better for them in the long run if they don’t go well. The more complications the heroes face early on, the more hero points they earn for use later in the adventure. In the classic comics story, the heroes encounter the threat and suffer a defeat of some sort: the villain may get away, the heroes’ powers may prove inadequate to deal with the problem, their plan may not work, and so forth. The heroes then regroup, come up with a new plan, and try again....A good guideline for awarding hero points is at least one hero point per scene in the adventure leading up to the final scene.
STR 0, STA 0, AGL 0, DEX 0, FGT 0, INT 0, AWE 0, PRE 0 Equipment: cell phone. Advantages: Equipment 1. Skills: Expertise: Choose One 4 (+4), Expertise: Current Events 2 (+2), Expertise: Pop Culture 2 (+2). Offense: Init +0, Unarmed +0 (Damage 0). Defense: Dodge 0, Parry 0, Fort 0, Tou 0, Will 0. Totals: Abilities 0 + Powers 0 + Advantages 1 + Skills 4 + Defenses 0 = 5
STR 2, STA 2, AGL 1, DEX 1, FGT 3, INT 0, AWE 1, PRE 1 Equipment: Bulletproof vest (+4 Toughness vs. Ballistic), light pistol, tonfa, cell phone, handcuffs. Advantages: Equipment 3. Skills: Athletics 3 (+5), Expertise: Current Events 2 (+2), Expertise: Streetwise 3 (+3), Expertise: Police Officer 4 (+4), Insight 4 (+5), Intimidation 2 (+3), Investigation 2 (+2), Perception 4 (+5), Ranged Combat: Pistols 4 (+5), Treatment 2 (+2), Vehicles 4 (+5). Offense: Init +1, Unarmed +3 (Damage 2), Tonfa +3 (Damage 3), Pistol +5 (Ranged Damage 3). Defense: Dodge 2, Parry 4, Fort 4, Tou 6/2, Will 2. Totals: Abilities 22 + Powers 0 + Advantages 3 + Skills 17 + Defenses 5 = 47
|And how many lectures on "creepy male gazey dude game art" were Green Ronin|
staffers giving while making a point of showing us this?