Latest Material Index

Continue reading

Latest Material Index

Continue reading

Latest Material Index

. It’s once again time to get the latest material index updated and to transfer the material from the old one to the main index tabs at the top of the page. If you want the very latest material, it may be necessary to either scroll down or consult the “Recent Posts” listing-widget on the lower right. The previous Latest Materials Index can be found HERE and – for those who like to rummage at random – the full post-by-post index can be found occupying a great deal of space in the lower right column.

. Eclipse Classless d20 Character Construction Cribsheet / Sample Character ListCharacter Creation PrimerCompiled Martial Arts.

. Subindexes: RPG Design – Twilight Isles – BattletechChampionsd20Legend of the Five RingsShadowrunWhite WolfOther GamesBattling Business WorldStar Wars

. Cumulative General Index. Continue reading

Eclipse – Where the D20 Ponies At? Part I

Now with the Cutie Mark Crusaders done for Champions, the question is “How do you convert ponies from the show for d20?”.

Unfortunately the answer is “generally you don’t” – at least not for a typical game. While there are several versions of the pony “races” out there, and Alzrius made a valiant try at converting Rarity for a standard game, he pointed out specific problems with some of the other mane six. Sadly, the more general problem is that baseline d20 characters simply do not function like cartoon ponies do. That’s the basic difficulty when it comes to Ponyfinder as well. It may let you play d20 with pony characters, but they don’t work much like the ponies do in the cartoon unless you add a few world laws to your setting.

To see why, lets take a look at the upper limits of the things that ponies in the cartoon pull off.

Ordinary d20 characters do a lot of fighting. How durable are the small technicolored equines on the show?

  • The Cutie Mark Crusaders are still alive – and are still being allowed to do things that would be insanely dangerous to human children with little or no supervision. That’s saying something right there considering the number of falls, crashes, and accidents they subject themselves to.
  • In the first season, Twilight Sparkle, while still a Unicorn and arguably the least physically inclined of the mane six, gets attacked by bees, slammed by doors, falls down stairs, and then gets a flower pot, a large anvil, a hay cart, and a piano dropped on her head in rapid succession from a considerable height. She is somewhat injured, but recovers entirely within a few hours – going from casts to running around madly in that interval. .
  • Rainbow Dash crashes through trees, and into rocks, and – at rainboom speeds (implied to be at least twice the speed of sound) – directly into the ground, creating a huge explosion, a mushroom cloud, and (from the amount of debris scattered afterwards) a huge crater with no injury at all. That’s quite tough enough to bounce anti-tank weapons. Even better, fast healing seems to be a thing for Pegasi too (while they never explain what broke it, recovering from a broken wing doesn’t take her all that long) – and probably for Earth Ponies as well given that Unicorns are supposed to be the most fragile of the three types.
  • Oddly enough, however, ponies incredible durability does not seem to protect them from actual attacks nearly as well as it does from accidents. That’s a limitation of sorts anyway.

How strong are ponies?

  • Pound Cake, as a one-month-old infant Pegasus, flies around carrying Pinkie Pie – a full grown adult or near-adult Earth Pony.
  • Rarity hauls around a boulder, apparently of granite, four to five feet across. Some quick figuring gives me an approximate weight of six to nine tons for a rock that size. Now she was “discorded” at the time – but she isn’t when she throws it out of her boutique. And why would a personality-changing spell make her stronger anyway?
  • Big Macintosh drags a house around quite easily (according to Google an average house weighs forty to eighty tons, or about sixty pounds per square foot. Even if we halve that because pony houses are smaller, that’s a lot to casually drag around). Sure, he was under the effects of a love potion at the time, but if it’s THAT easy to get super-strength as a side effect, why didn’t we see the royal guard smashing changelings with buildings? How often would such a powerful strength spell have been handy to Twilight?
  • Rainbow Dash executes a sharp turn, carrying four other ponies, at supersonic speeds. Considering the kind of forces THAT involves, it’s a lot more reasonable to assume that Rainbow Dash is just so awesome that physics looks the other way when she’s having a moment than it is to try and calculate what kind of strength that calls for (and how tough the ponies she’s carrying would have to be to survive it).

How early in their lives do ponies develop their abilities?

  • We don’t see many baby ponies – but at one month old Pumpkin Cake can levitate, phase through matter, use telekinesis (with enough raw power to break chains and padlocks), move and animate objects (handling at least four items at a time), and possibly teleport. We are told that “young unicorns have strange magical surges” of course. Those seem to happen most often when they’re left by their parents, are frightened, or are otherwise seriously stressed… can you say “Defense Mechanism”? Evidently during pony evolution “might die from out-of-control magic” was a much better deal than “WILL die from being eaten” for young proto-ponies. Still, evidently even unicorn magic is pretty intuitive and can show up early. Even without “surges”, rather small pegasi kids can fly – and Rainbow Dash could apparently exceed the speed of sound as a kid. She was also tough enough to maneuver and handle the slipstream at that speed, which isn’t easy. Even more tellingly, other pegasi foals could take being sideswiped and tossed around by her wake when she’s moving at that speed without injury. Not only are ponies insanely tough as adults, but they’re apparently inhumanly durable as children too.

How extensive are their abilities and how do they grow?

  • It’s hard to say much definite about Applejack: she’s supposed to be amazingly strong, tough, and enduring, she can obviously accomplish enormous amounts of work in a given time, and she has some supernatural agricultural abilities (She kicks a tree and has all the fruit fall off and neatly stack itself into baskets – apparently without bruising the fruit or damaging the tree. Seriously?) – but there isn’t enough detail to really quantify anything there beyond some inherent magic. She does have an odd ability to manipulate things with her tail and to store her lasso… somewhere. It doesn’t seem to be under her hat anyway. We are also told that “only earth ponies can grow food”, which is blatantly weird given that many edible plants grow wild, as shown by the discovery of the Zap Apples. It seems far more likely that Earth Ponies have some inherent agricultural magic, and thus can grow and harvest crops far more effectively than any other type of pony – although individual special talents and massive effort and study may make up the difference in individual cases.
  • Fluttershy can fly (quite well when she has to, even if she normally avoids it), control weather, generate lightning (given a cloud), walk on clouds (Hm. Cloud Horseshoes seem pretty practical in the setting…), resist the effects of high altitude and weather to some extent, heal rapidly, manipulate, stabilize, and build things out of, clouds (even if she never uses that ability), communicate with animals, stare down a dragon and a cockatrice with her supernatural gaze, is a skilled herbalist-healer, is apparently an expert naturalist and chorus director (you’ve got to be pretty good to be picked to perform at a royal wedding), and has numerous animal allies. On the other hand, her abilities are pretty much constant; they really don’t change a lot. Sure, she eventually acquires “Rainbow Power” – but that’s not really an ability of hers. Interestingly, when she was a foal who couldn’t fly well, the flight instructors and other students perched Fluttershy on a rather small cloud and made no attempt to rescue her when she went plummeting to the ground. Either they didn’t care (not likely in the setting), didn’t notice (now there is some NEGLIGENCE), or falling out of the sky is not normally dangerous for a Pegasus foal even if they can’t fly yet. Given how tough ponies seem to be, I’d go with the third option.
  • “Basic” Unicorns seem to be able to create light and basic lighting effects, use telekinesis to accomplish skilled tasks (albeit often mostly in fields related to their cutie mark), sense magic, provide power to magical devices, and resist or disrupt other magic with their own – although most of them lack the raw power to really accomplish much that way. They may be able to generate some basic protective and utility effects as well, such as resisting weather, purifying water, sealing and sterilizing wounds, and other simple survival-oriented techniques with practice (presuming they’re an evolved species, those are pretty obviously enhancements to their survivability). In most cases any further magical abilities seem to be linked to their cutie marks; Rarity can find gems, manipulate many items at the same time with telekinesis (at least as long as they have to do with sewing and making things), transform trees into topiaries, dress and undress ponies (and presumably other creatures) in an instant, and create light shows and backdrops – fitting enough if you accept the notion that her cutie mark indicates an ability to “find and bring out inner beauty”. Unicorns with magic-linked marks can learn magic easily. It’s more difficult – but not impossible – for other Unicorns to learn new spells, as Twilight teaching Sweetie Belle indicates. Still, a cutie mark seems to stabilize a Unicorn’s magic – allowing small children to do wild and wonderful things that adults apparently can’t.
  • Shining Armor shields an entire city against an army, and later shields another against Sombra. Presumably he has the usual abilities of a well-trained Unicorn and royal guard as well, but he hasn’t had enough screen time to really show off very much.
  • Twilight Sparkle can teleport pretty much at will, is a telekinetic powerful enough to reassemble a collapsing dam and hydroelectric plant despite the water pressure behind it, and displays a considerable list of other powers even BEFORE she becomes an Alicorn. She’s really the only pony who shows much development though – although it’s more an increase in “number of spells known” than power, which she was apparently pretty much born with.
  • Pinkie Pie… Honestly, Loki, Coyote, and plenty of other mythic gods have gotten along with a fraction of the abilities she displays. Sure, it’s limited – but semi-omniscience (pinkie sense, unaccountable knowledge, knowing when people are breaking promises), semi-omnipresence (ability to pop up and vanish pretty much anywhere), and the ability to warp reality (producing items up to a full-size cannon, breaking the fourth wall, being a one-man band with no hands or mouth, using Twilight as a gatling gun, defying gravity) covers pretty much everything I’d want to do. Worse, she can apparently inspire those same powers in OTHER ponies, such as Cheese Sandwich.
  • On the other hand, ponies generally aren’t big on epic-level or even high-order magic, you don’t see anyone bench-pressing mountains, and they do try to avoid serious attacks. There are some high-powered bits – but they tend to be VERY specific, such as Celestia’s moving the sun, or Shining Armor protecting a city. Those are very impressive stunts – but they’re still one-trick ponies.

How often can ponies use their abilities?

  • There isn’t a lot of hard evidence here. Given that the episodes are only about twenty-two minutes long, ponies really don’t have many chances to show off their endurance – but it apparently takes days of hard labor on very very little sleep to exhaust Applejack and she can applebuck all day long. Twilight Sparkle can cast practice spells all morning, then fight an Ursa Minor, and still be fresh and happy. We see four Earth Ponies pulling a train through a desert for a day and a night (and resisting being knocked over by buffalo, one of whom is dazed by bouncing off a far smaller Earth Pony), a feat calling for massive strength and equally massive endurance even if they’re just supplementing the locomotive. Scootaloo hauls her friends all the way to the crystal empire, fast enough to beat a train. Rarity sees to be limited by lack of sleep, rather than by how much magic she can use. All in all, ponies simply do not seem to run out of magic under normal circumstances. Instead they seem to be limited by simple physical exhaustion.

What kind of adventures do ponies go on?

  • There are slice-of-life episodes with social difficulties (suitable for d20 characters of any level) – but the very first episode / adventure puts the main six – a fashion designer, a farmer, a magic student, an athlete, and the town clown – up against a quasi-deity capable of bringing about eternal darkness. The series presents Hydras, Manticores, Chimera, and adolescent Dragons as minor opponents – obstacles to delivering pies in one case. For major ones they have dark lords, elder dragons, and chaos gods. What sort of characters join forces and go up against a quasi-deity for their first adventure? It ISN’T starting-off d20 characters in any “normal” campaign.

Are our ponies hunting for money and equipment? Or, for that matter, experience points?

  • In general, no. Applejack mentions needing money a few times – but it’s certainly not the real focus of things even in those episodes. Mostly they’re opposing the bad guys, and doing good deeds, because that’s what good guys do. There isn’t a lot of worrying about their jobs or supporting themselves.

Do they kill a lot of things?

  • Certainly not. Fatalities are vanishingly rare to (depending on if Sombra is actually dead or just on another epic time out) nonexistent.

Other attributes are a bit more nebulous… but ponies seem to have a fairly normal (perhaps slightly above normal, but not enough to matter in d20 terms) distribution of intelligence, they’re usually quite alert (although little more so than humans with similar cultures), they’re certainly cute and make friends easily, and they show considerable endurance (although so do healthy humans when they’re in good shape). They probably run a bit faster than human beings too; while there’s no direct standard of comparison they are little horses and the basic equine defense mechanism IS running away.

At it’s base, Friendship is Magic is a semi-utopian cartoon set in a world where pretty much everyone has at least limited super-powers. Yes, Ponies are better than non-cartoon people. In many cases they are WAY better. And they tend to be a lot nicer too. Simply making them higher level helps some – but doesn’t fit in well with the “have quite a lot of their powers even as kids” bit.

So… ponies generally have highly specific powers, which they use without any solid limit, but which do not change much with experience, they are incredibly tough, don’t worry much about background details, are brightly-colored, are easily identified since they always look the same, and they even have superhero-style names. Sure, the major characters can probably be presumed to be at least a bit exceptional – that’s stated outright in several cases – but lesser characters make some pretty good showings too.

That simply isn’t how baseline d20 works. We could approximate it by making ponies a high-ECL species, but most of the options there would still tend to run out of power too quickly.

In this case we’re probably going to want a multi-pronged approach – probably about a +1 ECL species to cover their baseline abilities, the Low-Level Hero Template to keep their developing powers from overshadowing their baseline abilities too much, and the Superheroic World Template to give them a continuous flow of Mana to power their abilities with.

When I next get back to this, it will be time to do the three major pony races.

Champions and the Cutie Mark Crusaders – Sweetie Belle

Armageddon (The superhero, not the end of the world) accidentally brought the first pony to Earth. Then young Ceara, an eight-year-old mage-in-training, wanted her own Unicorn friend – and accidentally summmoned the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Worse, thanks to her considerable – if mostly untapped – power, she’s given them full reality.

The world may not survive.

Sweetie Belle is the sweet little sister who wants to emulate her big sister – and manages to turn every attempt to do so into a disaster. Outside of that, however, she’s actually reasonably sensible and even fairly clever once she catches up on what’s going on. Whether that’s due to being a bit slow to catch on or to her having difficulty understanding how things got so absurd so quickly is an open question. While she isn’t quite as obsessed with getting her cutie mark as her friends, Sweetie is easily persuaded to go along with their various schemes.

Sweetie Belle’s actual powers are fairly limited. She may be a unicorn, but unicorn magic seems to be more learned than instinctive – and is apparently a lot of work to get really good at. She was originally only capable of having magical accidents (such as liquifying toast and setting juice on fire when attempting to make breakfast), but with Twilight’s tutelage she has become capable of basic telekinesis with fair control. For game purposes, this includes a very modest ability to disrupt other magics by wrapping their targets in her own magic and the ability to generate rather minor attacks – roughly equal to a normal person kicking someone. Her only other abiliities are looking incredibly cute (usually when trying to get something) and being able to moderately influence the emotions of those around her through song – neither of which really has much of a mechanical effect.

Like the other Cutie Mark Crusaders, Sweetie Belle is surprisingly skilled for her apparent equivalent age of 8-10. She’s a natural signer, knows the basics of writing (at least well enough to manage a gossip column – not that the requirements there are all that high), and has picked up some fashion and society related knacks from Rarity.

 

Sweetie Belle

Value Characteristic Points
3 STR -7
15 DEX 15
13 CON 6
8 BODY -4
13 INT 3
11 EGO 2
8 PRE -2
25 COM 7
1 PD 0
3 ED 0
4 SPD 15
4 REC 0
24 END -1
17 STUN 0
Total 34

 

Points Powers END
35 Cartoon Character Package Deal
(7) Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½
a-7 Armor (10 PD/10 ED)
b-7 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20
c-4 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2 0
d-5 Cartoon Immunities
(1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to his attention; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
(1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways; Frequency: Common
(1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
(0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
(0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare
(1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
(0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
(1) Immune to Aging
(1) Immune to Disease
(1) Life Support: High Radiation
e-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance/Bases/Etc (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment) 3
70 Cartoon Disadvantages
(20) Hunted: Fans of the Show (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
(20) Driven by strong, but fairly simple, straightforward, and constant motivations (Very Common, Strong)
(10) Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
(10) Public Identity
(5) Incapable of causing Body damage, cannot develop killing attacks (Infrequently, Slightly)
(5) Rivalry: Related Characters; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
8 Unicorn Magic Multipower (33-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Unicorn Pony Magic Only): -½; Generic Limitation (Only Basic Spells and those related to her Cutie Mark): -½; Generic Limitation (Easily disrupted by a blow to the horn, horn restraints, or similar): -½; Activation: 12-, -¾; Side Effects (Random magical effects): 60/All, -1
Basic Unicorn Magic
u-1 Telekinesis (STR 10); Range: 155; Manipulation: Fine, +10; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Active Points: 31 1
u-1 4d6 Suppress Magic; Range: 150; Affect: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
u-1 4d6 Energy Blast; Range: 150; Versus: ED; Variable Special Effects: Any, +½ 3
Child-Utility Magic
u-1 +66 COM / Puppy-Dog Eyes
u-1 1d6 Transform / Emotional Influence (Cosmetic, Limited Class); Range: 160; Area Effect (Radius): 128″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×64, +1½; Invisible: To All Senses, +1; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Cumulative: +½; Penetrating: +¾; Generic Limitation (Requires Singing): -½ 0
11 Running (+3″, 9″, NC: 36″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 18 2
5 Shrinking-1 (DCV +2, Height 54 cm/1’9″); Mass: 5.125 kg/11 lbs; Knockback Increase: 3; PER Bonus: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Physical Quality: Cannot be drained, surpressed, or turned off, user is a child and very small): -1; Side Effects (User is a small child, with all the limitations thereof): 60/All, -1 0
5 Equipment
(5) Focusing Gem / Buy off Activation and Side Effects limitations on her Unicorn Magic; After Sweetie Belle accidentally transformed most of Ponyville into anthropomorphic fruit, Twilight gave her a focusing gem for the tip of her horn – the equivalent of putting training wheels on a bicycle.
29 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
3 Professional Skill: Singer-Songwriter 14-
1 Professional Skill: Writer 8-
1 Professional Skill: Fashionista 8-
1 High Society 8-
1 Acting 8-
7 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

125+ Disadvantages
15 Too cute to bear; keeps getting snatched, cuddled, hugged, and treated as being totally helpless. (Frequently, Greatly)
15 Small children (Frequently, Greatly)
20 Panics easily (Very Common, Strong)
10 Tends to miss the point (Common, Moderate)
10 Overconfidence (Common, Moderate)
10 Obsessed with discovering her special talent (Common, Moderate)
20 Distinctive Features: Tiny Pony; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5
10 Reputation: Crazy Children (11-)
20 8d6 Unluck; Generic Limitation (Only to cause silly cartoon-style mishaps): -1
30 Vulnerability: Presence Attacks (2× Effect); Attack: Very Common, +15
10 Watched: Parents, Fans, Authorities, and Relatives. (11-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Mild, -5
170 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
34 + 36 = 70 295 = 170 + 125

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
5 5 / 7 4 0 11/10 13/10 3, 6, 9, 12

Height: 108cm (3’7″), Weight: 41kg (90 lbs), Sex: Female, Age: 7, Race: Unicorn Pony

 

Champions and the Cutie Mark Crusaders – Scootaloo

Armageddon accidentally brought the first pony to Earth. Then young Ceara, an eight-year-old mage-in-training, wanted her own Unicorn friend – and accidentally summoned the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Worse, thanks to her considerable – if mostly untapped – power, she’s given them full reality.

The world may not survive.

In the source material Scootaloo is basically presented as an enthusiastic handicapped kid with a bad case of hero-worship – the same character you’ve seen in a hundred movies inspiring their hero to press past all normal limits. Fortunately for her, she’s from an episodic children’s cartoon rather than a tear-jerker segment from a movie, and so is spared the (all too common) “dies at the end” part of the trope. She gets to keep the “determined and upbeat in the face of tragedy” part though.

Unfortunately, since pegasus magic involves flight, weather manipulation, and standing on clouds, that means that Scootaloo – as the pegasus pony version of the spunky kid who performs stunts in her wheelchair – never gets to use most of her inherent magic. Fortunately, she picks up a notable setting-based boost here. While she’s a very poor-to-incapable (and possibly permanently handicapped) flyer in the original series (despite knowing a god of chaos who can do almost anything and seeing the other characters slap a propeller on a turtle to let IT fly), this is a superhero setting. Even more importantly, it’s one where a determined but perfectly normal person with no wings or inherent magic at all can pick up a textbook on elementary levitation at the bookstore and learn to fly, even if (unlike a superhero) they won’t be very good at it due to active point limitations. Given that, Scootaloo being unable to fly makes even LESS sense. Ergo this version is a clumsy, accident-prone flyer – but hardly incapable*.

*Given that Scootaloo can apparently generate enough thrust to drag her two friends up and down hills, at high speed, all the way to the Crystal Empire as fast or faster than a train can manage the trip… it’s hard to see what prevents her from pointing that thrust downwards and taking off like a rocket anyway. Hauling herself, two other fillies, a scooter, and a wagon, up a 45-degree slope at constant speed – even disregarding friction – calls for more than enough thrust to launch herself straight up at two gravities. And she kept it up for hours. Unless she just can’t steer she ought to be buzzing around like a hummingbird on coke.

Back with her canon abilities, Scootaloo is an accomplished acrobat, and a surprisingly skilled musician, mechanic, and dancer. That’s doing pretty well for a character who seems to be roughly equivalent to 8-10 human years old*.

As far as the Crusaders go, Scootaloo provides; propulsion – both in the form of physical transport and in throwing her apparently-unlimited enthusiasm and energy behind even the most unlikely plans.

*How long ponies live and how fast they mature is an open question, even presuming that all three major subtypes have very similar lifespans – which is in no way guaranteed. Personally, I’d tend to assume that ponies in general have somewhat longer lifespans than humans do, that they tend to mature in growth spurts, and that they tend to stay fairly young-looking for most of that time. That gives us a population consisting of a small number of babies and very young children, quite a few kids of somewhat indeterminate age, a lot of relatively youthful-seeming adults, and a relative few elders – a fair match for what we see in the show.

 

Scootaloo

Value Characteristic Points
8 STR -2
18 DEX 24
13 CON 6
8 BODY -4
8 INT -2
8 EGO -4
5 PRE -5
18 COM 4
2 PD 0
3 ED 0
4 SPD 12
5 REC 0
26 END 0
19 STUN 0
Total 29

 

Points Powers END
12 Pegasus Pony Magic Multipower (32-pt reserve); Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Pegasus Pony Magic Only): -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼
u-1 6d6 Energy Blast: Lightning; Range: 150; Versus: ED; Generic Limitation (Only usable with clouds or a relevant magical focus.): -½ 3
u-1 1d6 Transform: Weather and Cloud Manipulation (Cosmetic, Limited Class); Range: 160; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 8000″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×8000, +3¼; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Requires flying around and wrestling the weather into submission.): -1 0
u-1 6″ Flight (NC: 192″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×32, +20; Non-Combat (MPH): 286 1
u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack: Wing Buffet (3d6, Total 4½d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Pegasus Pony Magic Only): -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼ 1
u-1 Acrobatics 24-
1 Elemental Control: Pegasus Powers (3-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Minor Pegasus Powers Only): -1
a-5 Running (+3″, 23″, NC: 92″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 18; Reduced END: Half, +¼ 1
b-1 6″ Gliding (NC: 12″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 18; Generic Limitation (Winged flight/Cloudwalking only): -½
c-4 Armor (5 PD/5 ED); Generic Limitation (Only versus lightning and other weather effects): -1
d-2 High-Altitude Adaption: Immune to lack of oxygen, low pressure, and cold; Generic Limitation (Resistant only, not immune. ): -1
35 Cartoon Character Package Deal
(7) Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½
a-7 Armor (10 PD/10 ED)
b-7 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20
c-4 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2 0
d-5 Cartoon Immunities
(1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to his attention; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
(1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways; Frequency
(1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
(0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
(0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare
(1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
(0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
(1) Immune to Aging
(1) Immune to Disease
(1) Life Support: High Radiation
e-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance/Bases/Etc (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment): -1 3
70 Cartoon Disadvantages
(20) Hunted: Fans of the Show (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
(20) Driven by strong, but fairly simple, straightforward, and constant motivations (Very Common, Strong)
(10) Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
(10) Public Identity
(5) Incapable of causing Body damage, cannot develop killing attacks (Infrequently, Slightly)
(5) Rivalry: Related Characters; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
5 Shrinking-1 (DCV +2, Height 62 cm/2’0″); Mass: 6 kg/13 lbs; Knockback Increase: 3; PER Bonus: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Physical Quality: Cannot be drained, surpressed, or turned off, user is a child and very small): -1; Side Effects (User is a small child, with all the limitations thereof): 60/All, -1 0
25 Equipment
(20) Scooter / Extra Running (+14″, 23″, NC: 92″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 83; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Focus Mobility: Bulky, -½; Focus (Scooter): Obvious Accessible, -1 0
(5) +15 STR; Doesn’t Affect Figured: -½; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Focus Mobility: Bulky, -½; Focus (Wagon): Obvious Accessible, -1; Generic Limitation (Only for hauling loads around): -1; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Extra Time Required: Only At Startup, ½ 0
35 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
3 Acrobatics 13-
1 Musician 8-
1 Mechanics 8-
1 Dancer 8-
6 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

100+ Disadvantages
15 Too cute to bear; keeps getting snatched, cuddled, hugged, and treated as being totally helpless. (Frequently, Greatly)
15 Small child (Frequently, Greatly)
20 Panics easily (Very Common, Strong)
10 Tends to miss the point (Common, Moderate)
10 Overconfidence (Common, Moderate)
10 Obsessed with discovering her special talent (Common, Moderate)
20 Distinctive Features: Tiny Pony; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5
10 Reputation: Crazy Children (11-)
20 8d6 Unluck; Generic Limitation (Only to cause silly cartoon-style mishaps): -1
15 Poor Flyer (Frequently, Greatly)
15 Seriously uninvolved parents. (Frequently, Greatly)
10 Watched: Parents, Fans, Authorities, and Relatives. (11-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Mild, -5
170 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
29 + 41 = 70 270 = 170 + 100

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
6 6 / 8 3 0 17/15 18/15 3, 6, 9, 12

(Adult) Height: 124cm (4’1″), Adult Weight: 48kg (106 lbs), Sex: Female, Age: 8, Race: Pegasus Pony

 

Champions and the Cutie Mark Crusaders – Apple Bloom

Armageddon accidentally brought the first pony to Earth from the imaginal realms. Then young Ceara, an eight-year-old mage-in-training, wanted her own Unicorn friend – and accidentally summoned the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Worse, thanks to her considerable – if mostly untapped – power, she’s given them full reality.

The world may not survive.

Apple Blossom is about what you’d expect of any kid – presuming that kids all had a special talent that they were desperate to find and were semi-invulnerable cartoon characters free to do absurd things to try and find them. Human kids learn not to jump off high places because it hurts. Apple Bloom and her friends find that jumping off high places isn’t enough to reveal their talents, so they add rocket-assisted takeoffs.

Other than that… Apple Bloom is a well-meaning, if somewhat rustic, farm kid, loyal to her friends, cheerful, brave, always willing to give people a chance, and inclined to work hard, both on the farm and on whatever insane project she and her friends have come up with today.

Like any Earth Pony, Apple Bloom possesses great strength and endurance for her size*, can grow and manipulate plants (this being a superhero setting, fast enough to tangle people up in them, even if it isn’t really too effective), can get enormous amounts of work done (Sweet Apple Acres sells apples all over Equestria and seems to extend to the horizon. If the place is a mere two square miles… running it would be a full time job for a hundred humans, and call for two or three times that many during harvest season to pick the fruit. Sweet Apple Acres manages with two workers, a kid, and a granny in a rocking chair), and the ability to pull small tools and objects out of nowhere.

Her personal talents include a fair knack for brewing potions, using her ability to accomplish lots of work to fill an area with “Home Alone” style traps (not strictly canon, but entertaining and plausible enough given her rigging up a booby-trapped parade float in a few hours), some (very) basic combat skills (she apparently knows some Kung Fu and experimented with Karate), and a surprising level of skill for her age as a farmer and handyman. Most of those other than “handyman” have nothing to do with her (likely) special talent, it’s not like ponies can’t study other things.

*In a superhero setting… buy what you please. Rarity can haul around “Tom” – a chunk of granite four to five feet across with a likely weight of six to nine tons – and she’s a rather delicate female unicorn, the physically weakest of the pony races. Big Macintosh, a large and well-exercised male earth pony, is once shown towing around a house. Easily. Of course, the source material is a cartoon, so there’s no consistency about such minor details as strength; those same characters are shown having trouble with far lesser exertions.

 

Apple Bloom

Value Characteristic Points
15 STR 5
11 DEX 3
18 CON 16
9 BODY -2
8 INT -2
8 EGO -4
5 PRE -5
16 COM 3
4 PD 1
4 ED 0
4 SPD 19
7 REC 0
24 END -6
26 STUN 0
Total 28

 

Points Powers END
12 Earth Pony Magic Multipower (32-pt reserve); Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Earth Pony Magic Only): -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼
u-1 1d6 Transform/Get Work Done (Major, Limited Class); Range: 150; Cumulative: +½; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Extra Time: full phase, -½;Apple Bloom can repair, modify, and build things with completely unreasonable speed and skill. 1
u-1 2d6 Entangle: Grow Plants (DEF 2); Range: 150; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½This isn’t really very effective, but it can slow up normal folks briefly. 3
u-1 1d6 Transform: Plant Manipulation (Minor, Limited Class); Range: 160; Cumulative: +½; Area Effect (Radius): 4″ radius, +1; Increased Area: ×4, +½Like any earth pony, Apple Bloom can make plants grow well even under terrible conditions, ward off most pests, knock leaves off, make fruit fall as needed, and repair minor damage to plants, boost crop yields, and discourage weeds among many other tricks. 3
u-1 1d6 Transform: Produce minor items and tools (Major, Limited Class); No Range, -1/2While this doesn’t allow for major items, Earth ponies never seem to run out of string, nails, or other minor supplies to keep things running. 2
u-1 Hand-to-Hand Attack: Hard Hooves (4d6, Total 7d6); Range: 0; Reduced END: Half, +¼; Extra Time: full phase, -½Given a moment to set up, Earth Ponies can hit very hard indeed. 1
; Extra Time: full phase, -½; Generic Limitation (Earth Pony Magic Only): -1; Gestures: Instant Power, -¼
Personal Talents;
u-1 +3 Earth Pony Kung Fu: DEXWhile Apple Bloom only knows a few basic Kata, if you give her a moment to get ready they do help out a little bit.
u-1 Change Environment: Filled with silly traps (16″ rad.); Effect: Fixed, +0; Trigger: Set, +¼Should this be “Change Environment / “home Alone””? 3
u-1 2d6 Aid: Brew Potions (Fade/min., Max. 30); Range: 0; Trigger (Drink or apply potion): Set, +¼; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Potions take hours to prepare, cannot have more than a dozen at a time ready, GMO ingredients required):Apple Blossom is actually a fairly capable alchemist, able to brew a wide variety of potions – if she has the proper ingredients. She might also need directions, but that’s not a big thing in Champions. 2
35 Cartoon Character Package Deal
(7) Elemental Control: Cartoon Powers (15-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Cartoon Pony Powers Only): -½; Always On: -½
a-7 Armor (10 PD/10 ED)
b-7 Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn); Regenerate: From Death, +20
c-4 Images: Background music and sound effects (Hearing, 16″ radius); Range: 150; Observer PER Penalty: 0, +0; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; No Conscious Control: -2 0
d-5 Cartoon Immunities
(1) Looking Good: Immunity to being messed up for more than a few seconds; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) What Gravity? Immunity to Falling until lack of support is brought to her attention; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) In My Pocket, Why? Immunity to having to have pockets to carry stuff in.; Frequency: Common
(1) Sure I’m Perfectly Normal: Gets treated as just another human in most non-comedic ways
(1) Clothing? Immunity to being considered insufficiently dressed; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) Rated G: Immunity to Indecent Exposure; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) The Sounds of Harmony: Immunity to the need to compose or practice topical songs; Frequency: Fairly Common
(1) I Can Handle That: Immunity to not having normal hands; Frequency: Common
(0) All Devouring: Immunity to reasonable limits on how much they can swallow at one time.; Frequency: Rare
(0) There’s A Hole: Immunity to solid matter provided that it LOOKS like there is a hole in it and the user is not responsible for that.; Frequency: Rare
(1) Yes, It’s Suitable: Immunity to having to wear appropriate clothing to stay warm, dry, etc.; Frequency: Fairly Common
(0) It’s a permanent: Immunity to hair damage save by bladed weapons; Frequency: Rare
(1) Immune to Aging
(1) Immune to Disease
(1) Life Support: High Radiation
e-5 2d6 Aid to Equipment Allowance/Bases/Etc (Fade/week, Max. 30); Range: 0; Extra Time: 1 hour, -2½; Generic Limitation (Only to pay for role-appropriate, provided, or generally available gear): -1; Activation: 11-, -1; Affects: Single Power of Special Effect, +¼; Generic Limitation (Only GM-Approved Equipment): -1 3
70 Cartoon Disadvantages
(20) Hunted: Fans of the Show (11-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Actions: Hunting, ×1; Punishment: Harsh, 0
(20) Driven by strong, but fairly simple, straightforward, and constant motivations (Very Common, Strong)
(10) Distinctive Features: Cartoon Character; Concealability: Concealable, 10; Reaction: Noticed and Recognizable, +0
(10) Public Identity
(5) Incapable of causing Body damage, cannot develop killing attacks (Infrequently, Slightly)
(5) Rivalry: Related Characters; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
13 Running (+4″, 10″, NC: 40″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×4, +5; Non-Combat (MPH): 24 2
5 Shrinking-1 (DCV +2, Height 61½ cm/2’0″); Mass: 9 kg/20 lbs; Knockback Increase: 3; PER Bonus: -2; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Physical Quality: Cannot be drained, suppressed, or turned off, user is a child and very small): -1; Side Effects (User is a small child, with all the limitations thereof): 60/All, -1 0
38 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
2 Professional Skill: Farmer 11-
2 Professional Skill: Handyman 11-
4 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

100+ Disadvantages
15 Too cute to bear; keeps getting snatched, cuddled, hugged, and treated as being totally helpless. (Frequently, Greatly)
15 Small child (Frequently, Greatly)
20 Panics easily (Very Common, Strong)
10 Tends to miss the point (Common, Moderate)
10 Overconfidence (Common, Moderate)
10 Obsessed with discovering her special talent (Common, Moderate)
20 Distinctive Features: Tiny Pony; Concealability: Not Concealable, 15; Reaction: Always noticed & major reaction, +5
10 Reputation: Crazy Children (11-)
20 8d6 Unluck; Generic Limitation (Only to cause silly cartoon-style mishaps): -1
10 Watched: Parents, Fans, Authorities, and Relatives. (11-); Capabilities: More Powerful, 15; Non-combat Influence: Extensive, +5; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Mild, -5
15 Orphaned (Frequently, Greatly)
10 Vulnerability: Nightmare Powers (2× Effect); Attack: Uncommon, +5
5 Rivalry: Other Farmers; Situation: Professional, 5; Position: Equal, +0; Rival: NPC, +0
170 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
28 + 42 = 70 270 = 170 + 100

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
4 4 / 6 3 0 14/10 14/10 3, 6, 9, 12

 

(Adult) Height: 123cm (4’0″), (Adult) Weight: 72kg (158 lbs), Sex: Female, Age: 8, Race: Earth Pony

 

Eclipse, Problem Players, and Page 163

And to try (once more, despite real life) to get back to posting regularly, we have the most recent question…

I have a question regarding page 163 in Eclipse: The Codex Persona: I’ve now encountered an abusive character (well, by the numbers, he doesn’t actually abuse his power) and would like to know what I can do without destroying it entirely.

Now I’ve looked at the page and it said: “Explaining rationally […] better than smiting them without explanation.”

Looking at the 10 “options” presented, however, the page doesn’t really tell me how to do just that: Option 1, 7 and 8 seem to be saying “Fuck you” pretty blandly, whereas 2, 4 and 5 seem to be able to backfire greatly and haven’t really shown the player where the problem is (he could lead the over-monster back to the party or the character to protect dies because of a natural 1).

Reading the “explain rationally”-line, I rather expected more of the likes of option 3 (you are powerful, you just won’t get any stronger), option 6 (talking seems to solve such a disagreement rather smoothly) and option 9 (well, the last 2 lines at least imply that you aren’t trying to just screw others over out of what can easily described as (in my case and I’m sure in about 95% of the other cases) the DM’s incompetence (I’m fairly new, so I make my mistakes…).

Also, should I consider option 10 after already having applied options that aren’t 3, 6 or 9? After all, it seems likely to me that there will be divine justice as soon as my character would enter the scene (especially fearing option 9 as justified revenge since his designs seem to outsmart me at given times…)

Greetings
A DM that would really like his group to not soon view him as vengeful monster^^̊

Sometimes you have problem players.

Now the exact nature of that problem doesn’t matter. You may have a player who’s frustrated in real life and – when it comes to play – simply wants to take out his or her frustrations on the monsters and NPC’s. Unfortunately, Godzilla Junior has no patience with conversation, clues, mission objectives, or anything but leaping into combat – thoroughly disrupting the game for everyone else.

Perhaps a player wishes to focus on romance. Or plays characters who are so noble and honorable that they refuse to participate in ninety percent of the game. Or are so evil that no other character would come near them if they weren’t a player character. Or is optimizing their character to the point that no one else gets to contribute in whatever situation the character is optimized for. Perhaps they want to debate obscure rules rather than trusting the game master to move the game along.

Pretty much any behavior pattern – from clowning around to negotiating – can become a serious problem if taken to excess. Everyone knows how big a drain on a game someone who is simply passive and disinterested can be. A player who is actively disruptive can ruin a game in short order. Tabletop role-playing games are cooperative social activities; part of the deal is adding to the fun rather than detracting from it.

While anyone can have a bad day, a player who consistently detracts from the game rather than adding to it is a potential disaster for a game. Unfortunately, like any other behavior, said player is getting something out of acting that way or they wouldn’t be doing it, and so they won’t want to stop. On the upside, quite a lot of role-playing gamers aren’t very good at being sociable, and so they may not know that pursuing their personal goal is disrupting the game for everyone else. If you can get them to stop being disruptive, the overall improvement in the game is likely to wind up with everyone having more fun, troublesome player included.

So step one is to bring it up. Point out the ways in which the other players are being frustrated or where you’re having problems. Is one character over-powered? Say “You know, I’m having trouble coming up with encounters that will challenge your character but which won’t wipe out the rest of the group. Wouldn’t it be more fun for everyone if…”.

If you’re lucky, whether the player just didn’t realize what he or she was doing or because they just wanted some attention, that will be enough.

If your player is having a bad time elsewhere and can’t keep that out of the game, it might be time for a break, or you can just put up with it for a bit longer.

If the player won’t stop because they refuse to see the problem, or feel that they know the “right” way to play, or whatever justification they produce for them continuing to get whatever they’re getting out of the behavior pattern, then you have a few choices.

  • You can decide to avoid confrontation and put up with it. There are lots of rationales for this option; the player is a friend, they’ve already gotten over-stressed, they’re not that bad, maybe they’ll get over it, you don’t need the argument – but statements like this are only rationales. You might want to check with the rest of the players before just throwing up your hands; it really isn’t fair to force them to put up with a disruptive behavior without at least talking about it with them.
  • You can throw the disruptive player out of the game. As a “solution” this is quick, simple, effective, upsetting, and extremely disruptive in its own right. Nobody really wants to do this, which is why it’s an utter last resort.
  • You can go in for some behavior modification by making sure that the behavior pattern isn’t rewarded.

That’s what page 163 in Eclipse is really all about. Perhaps the most common, and the only mechanical (since only the characters mechanics are really under the players control), form of this problem in role-playing games is the individual character who overshadows everyone else in some field. A certain amount of that is fine – every character should have their specialties – but if they’re dominating a major part of the game (often combat) the other players will rightfully feel cheated. They’re investing their time in the game and they aren’t getting to play.

Thus page 163 in Eclipse is a collection of ways to make sure that building an overpowered character doesn’t get the player extra attention or rewards.

And yes; you are intentionally setting out to make what the player wants to do less fun. No, that’s not being a jerk; said player has already had the problem brought up – and has refused to stop making the game less fun for everyone else. Such a player has ALREADY said “Fuck You!” to you as the game master and to every other player in the game. Refusing to deal with that problem, and thus letting one player take over the game for his or her personal amusement, is shirking being a game master – and is letting all of the other players down.

There isn’t a page on dealing with similar problems on the role-playing side because Eclipse is a book of mechanics and because there are generally a lot fewer rules involved there; if one player insists on trying to beat every problem into submission with his or her silver tongue… well, some things can’t talk, some things will be totally unreasonable and might as well not talk, and some things will simply stall while matters become worse and worse. You can always note that “ten minutes of talking passes unproductively”; you do not HAVE to play out useless scenes. Simply refusing to spend a lot of time on activities that don’t interest the rest of the group will cure most role-playing problems.

Unfortunately, that’s a game master tactic, not something for a character-design system to cover.

And I hope that that answers the question; if you feel that something needs more explanation, then do let me know.

Champions – the Apatosaurus and the Hydra

Apatosaurus

Apatosaurus

Since the group is currently having some dinosaur problems, here’s a fairly typical one…

Apatosaurs (1) cluster into small herds if possible and stack their defenses, (2) move towards the nearest large quantity of vegetation, (3) eat it, and (4) repeat – with the only major variations being “if there is a predator that can actually endanger you, move away from it” and “if it is mating season and a mate is available, mate”. Sure, there are a few other things – move away from forest fires and volcanoes, deserts are no good, and so on – but Apatosaurs are stupid by the standards of gerbils. This is because the Archosaurs were creatures of vast power. Psionic abilities tap external power sources, transform them through the user’s central nervous system, and release them. The inevitable conversion losses… reappear in the user’s central nervous system.

Thus the more powerful the psychic, the more they tend to give themselves brain damage. Archosaurs, however, had very tiny and easy-to-cool brains, a huge mass to act as a heat sink, and very widely distributed nerves – leaving them with poor control, little intelligence, and no way of producing the more subtle effects – but with enormous raw power.

Shoving the spirit of a mythological greek monster into such a body to add magic to the mix is NOT a good idea.

 

Value Characteristic Points
30/80 STR 20
14 DEX 12
10/34 CON 0
10/20 BODY 0
1 INT -9
5 EGO -10
20 PRE 10
2 COM -4
15 PD 9
15 ED 8
3/5 SPD 6
20/40 REC 14
68 END 0
42/152 STUN 0
Total 56

 

Points Powers END
10 Elemental Control: Sauropod Powers (50-pt reserve); No Conscious Control: -2; Generic Limitation (Prohibits the development of higher consciousness): -1½; Generic Limitation (Grossly obvious, fairly well-known): -½
a-10 Growth-10 (×1000 mass, ×10 height); Mass: 75,000 kg/165,000 lbs; Height: 1,680 cm/55’1″; Extra STR: 50; Knockback Reduction: -10; Extra BODY: 10; Extra STUN: 10; DCV Penalty: -7; PER Penalty: +7; Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; 0
b-14 Force Field (15 PD/15 ED); Reduced END: Zero & Persistent, +1; Hardened: ×2, ½; Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½; Usable by Others Number: 16, +1 0
c-11 Armor (10 PD/10 ED); Hardened: ×2, ½; Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½; Usable by Others Number: 16, +1; Ranged: +½
d-14 +24 CON; Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½; Usable by Others Number: 16, +1
e-14 Power Defense (40 pts); Usable By Others: Simultaneous Use, +½; Usable by Others Number: 16, +1; Hardened: ×2, ½
f-10 +100 STUN (Too stupid to go down).
3 Elemental Control: Saurian Basics (5-pt reserve); Generic Limitation (Grossly obvious, fairly well-known): -½
a-3 Need Not Breathe; Generic Limitation (While an Apatosaur holds enough air in it’s force field for several hours, it will eventually have to renew it.): -¼
b-6 Mental Defense (Too stupid to influence) (15 pts); Add to Total
c-10 Damage Reduction (Physical, 75% Resistant); No Conscious Control: -2; Generic Limitation (Prohibits the development of higher consciousness): -1½; Generic Limitation (Grossly obvious, fairly well-known): -½
d-10 Damage Reduction (Energy, 75% Resistant); No Conscious Control: -2; Generic Limitation (Prohibits the development of higher consciousness): -1½
e-3 Tracking Scent
f-7 Damage Resistance (15 PD/15 ED)
g-5 Running (+6″, 12″, NC: 24″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 22 2
h-5 Swimming (+12″, 14″, NC: 28″); Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Non-Combat (MPH): 45 2
2 Doesn’t Eat, Excrete or Sleep; Generic Limitation (Can eat almost any plant, does sleep, but continues eating plants while doing so, excretes quite enormously.): -1
137 Total Powers  

 

Points Skills, Talents, Perks Roll
7 Survival 13-
7 Total Skills, Talents, Perks  

 

Cost Equipment
120 Hydra Powers; Independent: -2; Generic Limitation (Quite well known): -¼; Visible (Blatantly transforms the user): -¼; Generic Limitation (The Hydra-powers make the user extremely cranky, inclined ro rampage, and generally hostile, as well as being inclined to guard mystical portals to the underworld. The user will almost always be regarded as a monster. The user also attracts heroes.): -¼

 

The Hydra Power Package varies a good deal with what it’s summoned into of course; It would usually include a bit of growth, some defenses, and so on – but in this case the summoner chose to focus almost entirely on offensive potential. He figured that the host he was using had plenty of growth and defenses already.

(1) Extra Heads (9) ; Number: 9
(12) Regeneration (1 BODY/Turn) ; Regenerate: From Death, +20; Autofire: 5 shots, ½
(32) Multipower (120-pt reserve); Independent: -2; Generic Limitation (Quite well known): -¼; Visible (Blatantly transforms the user): -¼; Generic Limitation (The Hydra-powers make the user extremely cranky, inclined ro rampage, and generally hostile, as well as being inclined to guard mystical portals to the underworld. The user will almost always be regarded as a monster. The user also attracts heroes.): -¼
; The “Autofire” modifier on each slot means that five slots fire once each per attack.
u-3 Ink Spray / Darkness (Hearing, Sight, 1″ radius) 0; Range: 600; Usable Against Others: ×125 mass, 2¾; Personal Immunity: +¼; Uncontrolled: +½; Reduced END: Zero, +1; Active Points: 120; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Independent: -2; Generic Limitation (Quite well known): -¼; Visible (Blatantly transforms the user): -¼
u-3 3d6 Killing Attack (RKA) 5; Range: 560; Variable Special Effects: Any, +½; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Reduced END: Half, +½; Independent: -2
u-3 5d6 Magic Disruption Energy Blast 5; Range: 595; Versus: ED; No Normal Defense (Not being a creature of magic): +1; Reduced END: Half, +½; Active Points: 119; Area Effect (Any Area): 64 hexes, +1; Increased Area: ×8, +¾; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Independent: -2
u-3 2d6 Drain Body Venom (Return/day) 5; Range: 525; Ranged: +½; Reduced END: Half, +½; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Penetrating: +1; Affects: Single Power, +0; Area Effect (One-hex): 1 hex(es), +½; Independent: -2
u-3 6d6 Energy Blast 5; Range: 600; Versus: ED; Variable Special Effects: Any, +½; Area Effect (Cone): 18″ long, +1; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Reduced END: Half, +½; Affects Desolidified: +½; Independent: -2
u-2 4d6 Killing Attack (HTH) (Total 8d6) 9; Range: 0; Autofire: 5 shots, ½; Independent: -2
(8) +4 SPD ; Generic Limitation (Only to take recoveries): –
(5) +2 SPD
(11) +20 REC
(3) Detect Entrances to the Underworld (+0 to PER) ; Time Required: Instant, +2; Range: Ranged, +5; Independent: -2
(5) Modified Characteristic (up to Str 80). : STR ; Reduced END: Half, +¼
(5) Stretching (3″, NC: 6) 0; Non-Combat Multiplier: ×2, +0; Reduced END: Zero, +½; Generic Limitation (Only for reach, no movement. ): -1
(21) +16 level w/Multipowe
120 Total Equipment

 

125+ Disadvantages
20 Psychological Limitation: Ignores things smaller than a house unless they’re hurting it (Very Common, Strong)
25 Psychological Limitation: Slow to comprehend anything (Very Common, Total)
20 Lives to eat plants. (All the Time, Greatly)
10 Vulnerability: Heat Stroke (2× STUN); Attack: Uncommon, +5
15 Hindbrain operates hind legs and tail (All the Time, Slightly)
25 No Hands
5 Watched: Assorted superheroes, zoologists, biologists, and so on. (8-); Capabilities: As Powerful, 10; Non-combat Influence: None, +0; Geographical Area: Unlimited, -0; Only Watching: ×½; Punishment: Harsh, 0
5 Nonsapient (Infrequently, Slightly)
125 Total Disadvantages

 

COSTS: Char. Powers Total Total Disadv. Base
56 + 144 = 200 250 = 125 + 125

 

OCV DCV ECV Mental Def. PD/rPD ED/rED Phases
5 5 / 0 2 15 40/40 40/40 3, 5, 8, 10, 12

 

Height: 168/1680cm (5’6″/55’1″), Weight: 75/75000kg (165 lbs/165,000 lbs), Race: Dinosaur

Superheroic Tactics

There’s a basic progression in many role-playing games; the characters start off relatively weak, and act with caution. They try to plan ahead, scout out the opposition, maximize their rewards, and minimize their risks. As they become more powerful, and more certain of surviving and escaping, some of the precautions start to fall by the wayside – and they move towards a “kick in the door” strategy of just wading in swinging.

They may start out that way if combat is mostly non-lethal, is fought to first blood or something other than death, or if the game master subscribes to the “balanced encounter” theory and there’s basically very very little chance of them losing – which winds up with the old “Combat as Sport and War” dichotomy.

Superheroes are a little different for a couple of reasons – but the most basic is that Superheroes aren’t out to get anything for themselves. They’re there to defend the general public, not to get rich, or to accomplish secret missions, or to rule the world, or to really do anything particularly proactive. They’re maintaining the status quo, rather than going out to change things. Superheroes are fundamentally reactive -and that makes for an equally fundamental chance in their tactics. Their villainous opponents pop up with a plan, and the superheroes try to stop them. Even worse… superheroes generally have no idea of what their opponents current insane objective is, what allies and powers the villains have this time, or of where or when the battle is going to occur. They’re all too often going in completely blind – but they don’t dare give the villains time, so they go in anyway.

In the real world, and for most RPG characters, that would be a recipe for suicidal battles and total defeat. Fortunately, superheroes are incredibly durable. Even better, super-villains are usually more than a bit crazy, rather uncooperative (and thus tend to come in smaller groups), tend to stick to themes, and – while they often have more power than the heroes – their powers tend to be very specific or have other weird limitations.

Thus the basic superhero tactical plan tends to be “we go in, rely on our incredible defenses to survive the enemies initial attacks, traps, or what-have-you, and improvise a plan once we have some idea of what we’re up against”. They’ll usually be pressed hard at first, and may even be thrown back or defeated – but they have defenses rather than reserves, and will survive the various villainous surprises. Once they have some idea of what they’re up against, and what they need to be doing, they will bounce back, coordinate their attacks, move to stop the bad guys plans (whatever they may be), and pull out a victory.

Now circumstances may alter that basic plan a bit.

  • If they’re actually attacking a known target for once – such as a secret base – they usually add a brief list of objectives such as “take the control chamber”, “don’t let the boss escape”, “prevent them from activating the cosmic mega-cannon”, and so on.
  • If they’ve got known opponents, those with relevant powers may get some specialized defenses ready (well, it’s Infernus… I’ve got my fire protection spell running and a water-blast ready), there may be a few targets assigned (you go after Megasmashman… you’re the only one we’ve got who can keep him busy!), and they may actually have some idea of what they’re trying to stop – but it’s still urgent; super-villains can do a LOT of damage very quickly if left on their own.
  • If the heroes know when and where the fight will be, they’ll likely try to evacuate civilians in advance and maybe even try to bring in some allies.
    When they know who they’ll be fighting, or if some of their powers complement each other nicely, there may even be some teamwork assignments (Gigavolt! You absorb his electrical attacks while I hit him with my knockout arrows!), but they tend to be pretty basic.

And that’s about it. You almost never see much of the way of superheroic contingency plans unless you have a character with a related power, such as precognition. Even then, you don’t see any actual plans being made, what you see is a character with a power that allows them to occasionally pull out just what they need. That’s an easy enough power to give a superhero – but in a game the mechanics aren’t going to have anything to do with “planning”. Either the game master will provide a list and try to work the stuff on it into later events (tricky, but fun if you can pull it off and the player doesn’t miss his or her cues) or it’s just a way of letting the character defer a few decisions until they’d actually be taking effect.

There’s actually a good reason for that. When you might, at any moment, wind up in the dimension of Teddy Bears, where the Koala King will force you to resolve your differences with your opponents with an eucalyptus leaf eating contest, tactical exercises get kind of awkward. SWAT teams may train in handling hostage situations – but no one expects them to train for “the floor is abruptly flooded with lava, while a dozen fire elementals appear randomly about the area and start attacking”. In the real world… stuff like that doesn’t happen.

In a superhero universe, stuff like that happens all the time.

That’s why most superhero plans can be summarized in a single sentence. For superheroes… “They haven’t spotted us – so we’ll follow them back to their hideout, watch the hideout to see who comes and goes, and then track and investigate those people so that we can try to take down the entire organization” is an extremely elaborate plan (and one that is usually only possible for a group that is actually on the offensive and has both investigative skills and police powers).

Since they’re on the offensive, that plan can even be extended with a few basic contingencies – whether to fall back or attack if spotted, who will move in to stop the bad guys and who will form a perimeter / evacuate civilians if the bad-guy group they’re observing gets up to something horrible, and where to fall back to if they have to retreat. Contingency plans much beyond that though will inevitably get lost in an endless maze of ever-remoter possibilities – and there’s only so much “time” available, whether that “time” is measured by the page count in a comic book, the run time of a cartoon, or the length of a game session.

In more urgent situations – when it’s “the villains are attacking (whatever)” there usually isn’t much time for planning beyond “we go in and stop them”, “really tough guys lead”, and “sneaky guys try to get the drop on them” – which really amounts to “use your powers appropriately”.

Similarly, that’s why superhero “training” focuses on developing their special powers, generic combat skills practice, and working up ways to combine their powers with those of their current teammates, rather than on tactics for dealing with particular situations. You can count on your own powers first, on your personal combat skills second, and on your teammates third – but you can’t count on the environment, setting, or situation at all. There are just too many powers that can change those things in the blink of an eye out there.

To pull a quote from The Practical Enchanter (and from an old gaming group)…

“Right. We’ve got two groups of incoming hostiles and civilians to evacuate. Talisien, raise a storm, we’re going to need cover. Ironstar, power up the old warpgate; Starblade can get it programmed. Orealis, you-“ -Captain Valor

”Why is he always in charge?” -Ironstar

“Because he had a plan before the rest of us had even counted up the power signatures on the scanner display?” -Orealis

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