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[SPC]Questions about the supplement before I buy.
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ProtoClone
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:05 pm    Post subject: [SPC]Questions about the supplement before I buy. Reply with quote

Hi,
Looking to start up a supers campaign for a story I put together. I currently own M&M and have grown out of it and never found a group to play it. I have changed my taste of games to ones I can run/play simple and fast. My brother has lent me his SW book and have found the system much to my liking. So I decided to start looking at SPC and see how that works. I have read a mixed review of the product but don't really have a feel for it. So I thought I would ask the forums.

How easy is it to make a character?

Is it point build? If so, how?

How powerful can the characters get, comparitively?

Would I be able to make notable characters from comics?


The story I am wanting to run would have a hero, with time travel powers, who is infected with an engineered virus that is supposed to leave him powerless. Instead, the virus works much like the Legacy virus, just not airborne. So, now there is a hero popping in and out of time and causing temporal holes through out all of reality. The players have to find out how this is happening and how they can stop it before too many holes are poked in the fabric of time and it all collapses.

Also, an idea I had would be to run the players through DCs "Blackest Night" story arch. Would this be possible with SPC?
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Locke
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using the Necessary Evil book and the SPC to run my current supers game, and I've found it very useful for the genre.

How easy is it to make a character?

Honestly, about as easy as making your average SW character, except that you have a lot more options about what powers to take. Which is what the system offers you: powers, not a list of effects that you combine to make powers (like M&M 3e does). You can still apply your trappings to make the powers work how you want them, but you won't need to figure out how to build them yourself. Also, unlike M&M, there are specific modifiers for each power, with only a few that would be considered "universal" (like the Device modifier, that essentially gives the power the Removable flaw from M&M).

Is it point buy? If so, how?

The standard assumption for the SPC is that every character starts off with the Arcane Background (Super Powers) for free. However, unlike the Edge of the same name in the core rules, this specialized version gives your players 10 power points to spend on their characters' powers. Each power has a pre-determined cost, which you can change via the specified modifiers for it. In that way, it's much like M&M, except that the powers are mostly pre-built for you.

How powerful can the characters get, comparatively?

That answer would be based on what you're comparing the characters to. Smile Most of the powers have hard caps for their effects—such as the Ranged Attack power maxing out at 5d6 damage and the Flight power capping at the speed of sound (for the baseline campaign setting). Although 5d6 may not seem like a terrible amount of damage (especially when compared to the crazy effects you can piece together in M&M), but rolling that many dice at once drastically increases the odds of aces (at least, it has in my campaign, where I one-shotted the party's tank after acing three times on a d12). There are options to dial things down (for a Mystery Men feel) or up (for a more cosmic power feel), and that alters things a bit. But in general, SPC characters can get pretty scary, on both sides of the screen.

Would I be able to make notable characters from the comics?

I don't see why not, if you're okay with converting the flavor and not the specific mechanics. For instance, one of my Necessary Evil players is currently running a build that is essentially a female Green Lantern. That wasn't the design intention, but when you use Force Control with Flight and Bind, it's kind of what you get. Smile As with all things Savage, it all comes down to the trappings you want to use.

As for your campaign ideas, I'll admit I'm not the most versed comic book geek out there, so I can't really comment on how those arcs might work out. But I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the SPC, and the rogue's gallery at the back of the book is well worth the purchase price.

Hope that (ridiculously long wall o' text) helps. Wink
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Garuda
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: [SPC]Questions about the supplement before I buy. Reply with quote

ProtoClone wrote:


How easy is it to make a character?


Very easy. You can pretty much make any character concept by choosing an appropriate power and add approprite trappings to explain how that power works.

ProtoClone wrote:


Is it point build? If so, how?


Yes. Basically, take the Super Powers Edge and add the Power Points Edge each time you level up to increase your powers.



ProtoClone wrote:


How powerful can the characters get, comparitively?

Not sure what you mean here. Compared to what?


ProtoClone wrote:


Would I be able to make notable characters from comics?


Yes. Especially if they're NPCs. You can ignore character creation rules for NPCs and just give them any skills and powers you wish.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject: Re: [SPC]Questions about the supplement before I buy. Reply with quote

Hello. I'm running an M&M campaign and playing in another, and have just wrapped up an SPC campaign, so I might be able to help.

How easy is it to make a character?
About as easy as making any Savage Character. Instead of spending a couple of hours buying gear, they'll spend a couple of hours buying powers. The rest of it goes really quickly.

Is it point build? If so, how?
Sort of. You get X points to spend on powers (where X can be set several GM-determined ways, including the excellent full power option), just like the Core Rules give you B points for attributes and C points for skills.

How powerful can the characters get, comparitively?
At any of the "style scales" a super character can tear through most mundane threats. Bullets bounce off, tanks are shredded like wet tissue, and buildings are as flimsy as cardboard boxes.
On the flip side, a properly equipped, informed, and intelligent SWAT team can stop almost any Super. They'll need serious weaponry, good tactics, skill, and luck, but they can drop almost any single character - much the same way a customized SHIELD hit-squad can.

The overall effect is very "Marvel Comics", or the "Lantern Wars" levels in the events leading up to Blackest Night, levels of power. You're cool, but can be dropped at any time; and if you're lucky and good then you'll last all day.

Would I be able to make notable characters from comics?
Pretty much. How satisfied you'll be will depend upon what's most important to you, but you can build a solid analogue of most comic book characters.

Quote:
The story I am wanting to run would have a hero, with time travel powers, who is infected ....

You can do that. There are no explicit "Time Travel" powers in the SPC, so you'll have to figure out what your plot-character has. Or simply wing it, since he's plot and does what the plot requires.
Some work and thought required, but nothing too strenuous.

Quote:
Also, an idea I had would be to run the players through DCs "Blackest Night" story arch. Would this be possible with SPC?

Pretty much. The Undead and Force Control (Death) powers, possibly with some Infect, can give you a dandy little Black Lantern template.


Good Luck!
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farik
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I will catch flak for this but as much as I love Savage Worlds for a wide variety of games.

Mutants and Masterminds is a much better system for running 4 color super heroes.

SPC makes fine characters but but without a lot of genre enforcement by the Game master and players in my experience SPC supers eventually turn into super powered SWAT team members toting around the best armor and weapons they can salvage or buy and using their super powers like special tricks.

Now I'll admit that worked great for Necessary Evil and I think it would even work well for a game based on something like "Alphas" but if you want comic book style action I'd encourage you to check out MnM.

just my $0.02
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

farik wrote:
I'd encourage you to check out MnM.

So ... I guess you missed the first part of his post. The one where he tells us that he owns M&M and it is not cutting it for him? Laughing #1yelrotflmao
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farik
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ValhallaGH wrote:
farik wrote:
I'd encourage you to check out MnM.

So ... I guess you missed the first part of his post. The one where he tells us that he owns M&M and it is not cutting it for him? Laughing #1yelrotflmao


Yep it happens when you read forum posts on your smart phone. But I still think M&M is better at running 4 color super heroics. But maybe he doesn't want 4 color.
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ProtoClone
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

farik wrote:
ValhallaGH wrote:
farik wrote:
I'd encourage you to check out MnM.

So ... I guess you missed the first part of his post. The one where he tells us that he owns M&M and it is not cutting it for him? Laughing #1yelrotflmao


Yep it happens when you read forum posts on your smart phone. But I still think M&M is better at running 4 color super heroics. But maybe he doesn't want 4 color.


I don't mind the honesty, honestly. I don't currently own the M&M3e, just 2e.

I do want some depth to the story.

How does SPC not achieve that 4color depth?

Also, for others who have asked, when I say comparatively I guess I meant to other Supers RPGs...Which might not be as easy to compare now that I think of it. So compare SPC to M&M, since that is what I know.


Last edited by ProtoClone on Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If he's looking at the Marvel Legacy Virus (super-plague that killed off a ton of mutants) and Blackest Night (every dead hero and villain, even those that got better, was turned into a fast-regenerating zombie "Green Lantern") then no, he's not after 4 color. He's after something like Hellspawn, Ex-Heroes, or pretty much anything from the 1990's. Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as the Super Powers Companion goes, the trick will be in the Setting Rules used to get the flavor and style of game you want to run. The book provides some options and examples, but if you have a particular style of game to achieve, you may need to come up with your own.
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ProtoClone
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ValhallaGH wrote:
If he's looking at the Marvel Legacy Virus (super-plague that killed off a ton of mutants) and Blackest Night (every dead hero and villain, even those that got better, was turned into a fast-regenerating zombie "Green Lantern") then no, he's not after 4 color. He's after something like Hellspawn, Ex-Heroes, or pretty much anything from the 1990's. Laughing


I guess I have reached my comic understanding limit then. I like reading them but I am not too familiar with the term 4 color.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On Power Levels:

It's difficult to compare the power levels of the Super Powers Companion (SPC) and Mutants & Masterminds (M&M). Not because they don't have similarities, but because the power level of M&M is hard-wired into the campaign. The power level is a numeric scale from 0 to about 20, but it's exponential advancement of character effectiveness.
A PL 3 campaign is street-level cops, kinds of like the Police Academy films. You can be dangerous, but if people shoot at you then you're probably going to be seriously hurt.
A PL 6 campaign is street-level super heroes, able to take on well-armed gangs or mobsters, and the occasional super-villain, but you can't be more dangerous than a tank who's main gun has been replaced with a flamethrower. This is also the PL of elite special forces operators. PL 6 is a good starting PL for most of the Marvel universe.
A PL 8 campaign is serious super-heroics. Most of the famous heroes are, or started at, this PL. You can do a lot individually, but as a team you can take on almost anything.
A PL 10 campaign (the "recommended starting PL") allows each hero to be the solo guardian of an entire city. Claim a city, tell the world "Come at me, bro", and prove that the whole world has to gang-up on you to give you a challenge. Phenomenal cosmic power starts at this PL, which is why pretty much everyone in the Justice League is at least at this level. A team of PL 10 heroes can take down anything, though they can get seriously hurt in the process.
A PL of 12+ lets you rule the universe; Batman's official stats are a PL 12, Superman and Wonder Woman are both PL 15, and most Olympian or Egyptian gods are set at PL 15. The nastiest thing I've seen, that wasn't a plot device pretending to be a stat block, was Omega (kind of a Darkside / Thanatos guy) and he's a PL 19. A team of PL 12 guys could take him down, though they would pay for it.

The SPC has certain hard limits built into some of the powers (Attack, Ranged cannot do more than 5d6 damage; you can't get more than +6d6 damage from Attack, melee; Infect cannot have a bigger penalty than -2; et cetera) but everything stacks.
Want to build the glass cannon of doom? You can do it (d12+4 or more shooting for 5d6 damage and ROF 3), and you can do it under almost all of the campaign options. But those options adjust how expensive it is to maximize certain powers, so that death bolt might cost all of your available points or it might cost a fifth of them.
As I mentioned earlier, the nature of the Savage Worlds rules combined with the potency of the SPC equipment, mean that even un-powered Extras with good equipment and tactics can defeat any single SPC hero. Which is about the power level you get from most of Marvel Comics, and about what you get from half of DC comics.
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farik
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Val, that was an excellent summary of the differences.

The term 4 color originally refered to a printing method but as a literary term it's about super heroic settings where the world is generally an absolute: cities get rebuilt; heroes are powerful but ultimately kept in check. Violence is often spectacular but generally has few lasting or complex after effects. I think the best current example of 4 color comics is Invincible and the Image titles that share his world.
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ProtoClone
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

farik wrote:
Val, that was an excellent summary of the differences.

The term 4 color originally refered to a printing method but as a literary term it's about super heroic settings where the world is generally an absolute: cities get rebuilt; heroes are powerful but ultimately kept in check. Violence is often spectacular but generally has few lasting or complex after effects. I think the best current example of 4 color comics is Invincible and the Image titles that share his world.


Yeah, not looking for that then.
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farik
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ProtoClone wrote:
farik wrote:
Val, that was an excellent summary of the differences.

The term 4 color originally refered to a printing method but as a literary term it's about super heroic settings where the world is generally an absolute: cities get rebuilt; heroes are powerful but ultimately kept in check. Violence is often spectacular but generally has few lasting or complex after effects. I think the best current example of 4 color comics is Invincible and the Image titles that share his world.


Yeah, not looking for that then.


Despite the darker tones of the Legacy Virus and the Blackest Night story lines ultimately both of them were pretty much 4 color events. The world's geopolitical landscape didn't change and everything got fixed in the end.

That being said this isn't a thread about comic literature it's about helping you run a great game. Perhaps you could answer some questions to help us reccomend how to get the game you want.

Do you want your heroes to be threatened by armed thugs? The police? an army? Only the US army? Only super villains?

Do you see the heroes slugging it out man vs man or do they wade through mobs busting heads casually?

Are you and your players comfortable with players being killed or do you expect them to recover usually no matter how bad the fight was?

Will the bad guys be able to be imprisoned or is murder the only way to stop them?

By answering these questions I think we'll have a better idea of what type of grittiness you're looking for then we can talk about those setting adjustments Clint mentioned.
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ProtoClone
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

farik wrote:
Despite the darker tones of the Legacy Virus and the Blackest Night story lines ultimately both of them were pretty much 4 color events. The world's geopolitical landscape didn't change and everything got fixed in the end.

That being said this isn't a thread about comic literature it's about helping you run a great game. Perhaps you could answer some questions to help us recommend how to get the game you want.

Do you want your heroes to be threatened by armed thugs? The police? an army? Only the US army? Only super villains?

Do you see the heroes slugging it out man vs man or do they wade through mobs busting heads casually?

Are you and your players comfortable with players being killed or do you expect them to recover usually no matter how bad the fight was?

Will the bad guys be able to be imprisoned or is murder the only way to stop them?

By answering these questions I think we'll have a better idea of what type of grittiness you're looking for then we can talk about those setting adjustments Clint mentioned.


I want my heroes to be threatened by the thugs and villains. I also want them threatened by civilian forces if they give those forces reason to take action against them.

Man-to-man or wading in to a crowd, doesn't matter. Either situations can happen.

Death is possible but only if they go looking for it.
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farik
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So if you want heroes who can be threatened by anyone with good tactics but only get killed if they go looking for trouble does that mean bad guys will generally be non-lethal by choice?

Are stun guns cheaper than bullets?

Are the super villains more mastermind than muscle generally?
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a Street Environment campaign, where any thug with a gun can ruin your day. The rest of it sounds standard for the SPC.

Aside: Comic short-hand is incredibly imprecise and subjective. The metallic "Ages" are vaguely defined, four-color is almost as confused as pulp, and everyone has a different idea of what the various terms actually describe. Most of the problem is that people latched onto different parts of the various stories and characters, and when one has been cited as an example they attach their subjective experience; an experience that is often very different from what the original speaker intended with his citation.
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ProtoClone
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

farik wrote:
So if you want heroes who can be threatened by anyone with good tactics but only get killed if they go looking for trouble does that mean bad guys will generally be non-lethal by choice?

Are stun guns cheaper than bullets?

Are the super villains more mastermind than muscle generally?


If the players give civie forces a reason to kill them, these forces will try.

If the players look for the option to kill/be killed, then it will be there. So if they are fighting someone and feel death is the only choice, then they have to tell me they intend to kill this individual.

The super villains will be of different types, not generally a specific type.
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farik
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree it sounds street level which SPC can handle nicely. The important thing will be that you and your players have an equal understanding of the power level and expectations of lethal and non-lethal force.

Nothing ruins a super game faster than Robin showing up to fight Doomsday because Robin thinks he's Superman. And if you don't want the heroes to be murderers avoid having every bad guy be a murderer. It's only natural for heroes and villains to reflect each other.
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