Okay, so here we go with Heroes of the City (hotc) version 2.0.  With a little bit of peer review, I’ll be ready to…

Okay, so here we go with Heroes of the City (hotc) version 2.0.  With a little bit of peer review, I’ll be ready to…

Okay, so here we go with Heroes of the City (hotc) version 2.0.  With a little bit of peer review, I’ll be ready to try it out again in a play test. 

HotC 2.0 playbooks, powers, basic and special moves can be found here for review.  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/slqfwwavsal246t/AAAwODCiO0m9LwyKDQ8jWB7Oa?dl=0

Once again, I’m looking for a “sit down, generate a detailed supers character in 15 minutes, and play the game” experience.  This is for episodic games that might include no players from the previous week or any player familiar with DW.

This version varies further from Dungeon World.  I cleaned up the Basic and Special moves slightly for clarity.  You’ll still see some familiar moves for each of the Archetypes (AT), but I feel like I had to make up more moves in this version.  The DW moves, as written, just didn’t make sense with the mechanics and concepts I introduced.

There is once again one single Use a Power move.  The stunts you can pick from vary depending on what powers you’ve chosen.  I made a 5-6 primary and 5-6 secondary powers available to each AT from which to choose.  The advanced moves in the playbooks usually give you new ways to use your powers as you level up (at range, in a cone, more powerful, additional effects) combined with DW moves and some moves based on the same framework as DW.  I still like each power as a separate move (When you use Ice Control…, When you use Gravity Control…) as I commented in my last post, but I thought I’d try it this way, since there was advice from the community to do it that way instead.      

I really, really liked the Channeler playbook I read.  I tried a version where I tagged each of the stunts with tags, but I quickly realized I might have to make up too many tags to suit the ‘quick-boom’ nature of the game I need.  I loved the ‘pick specialty of combinations to form techniques’ and I’d totally love to play this class in DW.  I’m close to adopting this type of thing, but it would have to be more naratively based than mechanical.  Since this is just for me at this point, I can determine what the stunts actually do on the fly (you’re a controller using a minor heal power, roll 1d4, you’re a defender with the same power, roll 1d6 [primary vs. secondary power]).  Minor damage, +1 forward, +1 specific move, +1 ongoing, heal dX, etc. mechanics are things I’ll judge on the fly depending on the narrative.  I’ll take notes as to what choices I make and get feedback from players as to how they felt the choices worked.  They may become static parts of the stunts in a future version.  I still may try that ‘make a combo unique to you’ approach if this doesn’t go in the direction I want it to.

Things I’m starting to think about for future versions:  Pick only 1 very broad power.  I’d combine the effects so that the powers would no longer be primary and secondary.  For example, Fire Blast and Fire Manipulation stunts would be combined into one Fire Blast power with more stunt options.  This has fewer choices for a faster start, but less variety and customization to the current powers system.  I could make more powers to choose from (say 8-10) for each AT, but that might once again slow down the start time as people waffle between too many choices; The Channeler option I mentioned above; How to vary less from the base DW moves;  How the powers I have written now might interact with themselves.  I may need to make heavy use of the Hold mechanic to represent an ongoing power.  Hold is the only thing I’ve seen that the ‘sit down and play’ players don’t seem to grasp intuitively which, again, might slow down start of play.

The numbers of systems I can’t quite use for what I want include Icons, D6 Powers, Venture City, Silver Age, Valiant, Just Heroes, Worlds in Peril, Savage Worlds, Champions, Supers!  Revised, Marvel Heroic Role-playing, MSH (FASERIP), and more.  The biggest hurdles I had were either too much generation time for characters, dissatisfaction with the powers system (too complex or too simple), the base philosophy of the game was too esoteric to grasp quickly, or any combination of these.  It’s not that I don’t like these systems.  I just can’t use them for what I want to use them as I need to.


19 thoughts on “Okay, so here we go with Heroes of the City (hotc) version 2.0.  With a little bit of peer review, I’ll be ready to…”

  1. On your Hold comment, players not grasping the idea.

    I find Dungeon World’s terminology much different from standard TableTop and video games. If you rename Hold to something like Action Points or Energy it may be understood more easily.

  2. Why STR/Con/Dex/Wis/Cha/Int? It’s not used by any supers RPG except 1st and 2nd edition M&M, which was last released in 2005.

    After the success of Masks and Worlds in Peril, I suggest you go back to the source trunk (*AW) instead of going off a branch (Dungeon World).

    MASKS has mechanics all about teens; WiP focuses on you opening up your powers via personality; what aspect of City of Heroes do you want to emulate? The huge, random superteamups of 8 people? The movement of Heroes to Rogues to Villains?

  3. Matrix Forby Nah.  Right now everything is a separate document,  but, hey, in this version I managed to remove the very confusing Vampire the Masquerade border that confused people last time.  It’s easier for me to work on it divided up into little packets of information. 

  4. Adam Goldberg Well, that goes back to easy ‘pick up and play in minutes’ paradigm.  I ran DW for a group of players of all experience levels and they sat down and started creating characters with little instruction.  Twice.  That part of DW is what I want to emulate the most. 

    The CoH factor is the setting.  That’s what I’m going to make use of.  Plenty to mine for years of setting material for a supers game.

    I haven’t seen how Masks does powers.  I might be able to use that for my purposes, but it will depend on the ‘instant start’ factor and how they do powers.  In my opinion, for a good supers game, you’ve got to have a decent, elegant powers system.

  5. Their system is extremely elegant; your powers are fictional positioning for your other roles. When you specifically use your powers, it’s Unleashing them, but you could theoretically use them for telepathic conversation. Thor and Black Widow would be equally matched until they started trying to lift things or interrogate a witness in Russian or something.

    100% read the Masks & WiP quickstart rules before you keep going with your game. They’re both Pickup and Play (Masks moreso) with an emphasis on why YOUR heroes, letting the players worldbuild, and interpersonal drama. Build away from there knowingly.

  6. I keep hearing people refer to the Masks Quickstart rules, but I missed the Kickstarter and I don’t seem to find any quickstart rules with a Google search. Link?

  7. Yeah, they may have pre-released the quickstart rules to those that backed it, but my definition of quickstart rules tend to be a free, striped down package that you can try out a basic scenario to get a feel for the game. I’ll probably buy it when it’s released but right now spent too much on other stuff . Also, and I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t want a physical book – I’m out of self space and usually the shipping costs aren’t worth it for me. If they had a pdf on the backerit page I’d buy it.

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