Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Concerns

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Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Concerns

Postby samca » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:07 pm

Hi!

I pitched a game to my group to use DC Adventures to run a self-contained campaign of a set number of sessions, with the players as the Justice League. I figure I'll be using a heavily modified Time of Crisis, adjusted to be a bit more like the actual Crisis on Infinite Earths.

(Although I'm a bit tempted to use Darkseid instead of the Anti-Monitor... Hm, we'll see. But regardless.)

So far so good!

My concern: How big a problem will it be to just take the characters as written in the book, hand them out as character sheets, and go from there? If one player takes Batman and another takes Martian Manhunter, is the game basically broken? Or is it possible to work with the varying power levels - maybe compensate with Hero Points or something along those lines?

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:06 pm

1) What is Time of Crisis?

2) No, it won't be broken, but it won't be the usual role-playing scenario where everyone is fighting in the same weight either. And this is something you should discuss with your players.

In super-team comic books, the emphasis isn't on fairness between characters abilities. In fact the discrepancy in power is sometimes a story point: Hawkeye choosing to become Goliath II for a time; the 'Dirty Half Dozen' story from (classic) JLA #66; Aquaman, Atom and Elongated Man's issues in (classic) JLA #143; the main driving point of the critically acclaimed "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" series.

From a role-playing point of view playing the League, or a League-like team, means you need players who understand the tropes associated with the discrepancies and our mature enough to handle them. Green Arrow doesn't go toe-to-toe with Darkseid; Superman does. But the last second shot that HAS to hit to win the day, that's Green Arrow's job.

One way to handle it is to actually give each player two characters, and when the team splits up (and they always do) make sure no player has both of their characters on the same team. But then when you divvy them out, you give each player a high-powered character and a lower-powered character. Let Bob play Superman and Hawkman, let Lisa play Diana and Dinah, let Frank play J'onn and Ollie, etc. or whatever combinations work.

Another way to handle it is to play to each player's individual strengths. If Frank is a science geek, let him play the Atom. If Lisa loves mysteries, let her play Batman. If your group is like mine, you might actually have someone who appreciates playing low-powered characters in a high-powered group. And if you have some combat-loving players, maybe let them play the powerhouses.

The main thing is that as the GM you need to have some way for every character to contribute. And the players who are playing the really powerful characters have to know that to play their characters correctly that they shouldn't do it all, even if they theoretically can.

It can work. I've been running my own game (http://www.rcuhero.net/g_heroes/coj.htm) like this for years, under two different systems (Champions and then DCA for the last 2 years), but it also took years before my players were able to handle it.

Your idea about handing out extra Hero Points to some of the characters is also a good way.

Or you could look through the Roll Call section, and find write-ups for the heroes you want to use that have a more consistent power level. There are a lot of them there.
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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby saint_matthew » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:10 am

Earth-Two_Kenn wrote:1) What is Time of Crisis?


Time of Crisis is was the first real M&M module.

My concern: How big a problem will it be to just take the characters as written in the book, hand them out as character sheets, and go from there? If one player takes Batman and another takes Martian Manhunter, is the game basically broken? Or is it possible to work with the varying power levels - maybe compensate with Hero Points or something along those lines?


i've tried it & i'll tell you now, it does not work well. Different power point totals is one thing & even that has flaws (but is workable), but different power levels just kills the game in my experience. Suddenly you've got PL 13 PC's hitting things that the PL 8-9's cannot hit, let alone damage... A situation made worse by defense shifting in either direction.

EDIT: Not to mention the one hit kills when a villain punches the PL 8 character & he explodes due to failing his save.

My suggestion is do not try to use the H&V books as a pick and mix PC book. The intention was for H&V book 1 & 2 were meant to be DC specific monster manulas, an not a place to pick PC's out of.

So my suggestion would be to either let players make there own version of the DC characters of a set level, or make original characters also of a set level.
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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby Mr Mole » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:08 am

Earth-Two_Kenn wrote:1) What is Time of Crisis?

Image
There's also and updated version for 2nd edition (Time of Crisis 2.0).

Full of Canadian supervillains, Nazi brain tanks, super apes, dark doppelgangers, and multiverse shattering conflict.

All of Prof McGlothlin's works should be required reading in school... :mrgreen:

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby saint_matthew » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:54 am

Mr Mole wrote:
Earth-Two_Kenn wrote:1) What is Time of Crisis?

Image
There's also and updated version for 2nd edition (Time of Crisis 2.0).


Alas there is no 3E version.

Mr Mole wrote:Full of Canadian supervillains, Nazi brain tanks, super apes, dark doppelgangers, and multiverse shattering conflict.


A little to silver age for my tastes, but a well written, well scripted module all the same: Personally i prefered Time of Vengeance, also by the very talented Mr McGlothlin. I prefer the more grounded story line.

Mr Mole wrote:All of Prof McGlothlin's works should be required reading in school... :mrgreen:


End of Time of Vengeance certainly made me tear up. No spoilers, its just a really sad ending.
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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby FuzzyBoots » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:06 am

One possibility is to simply create some quick equipment and/or GM fiat to level the playing field. Green Arrow can be working with prototype explosive arrows and hi-tech/mystikal armor. Superman might be plagued by issues from suddenly shifted solar radiation, whatever it takes for them all to be within about a PL of each other.

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby samca » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:01 pm

Yeah, that was my thought. The game is also Justice League focused - the closest to street level anyone would be likely to play would be Batman. So I am wondering if that changes the feasibility at all. Superman an Robin on the same team might be a problem, but how about a variance of 2-3 power levels?

If even that is too much, I may jut need to do some re-scaling, but I was hoping to avoid it...

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby FuzzyBoots » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:35 pm

samca wrote:Yeah, that was my thought. The game is also Justice League focused - the closest to street level anyone would be likely to play would be Batman. So I am wondering if that changes the feasibility at all. Superman an Robin on the same team might be a problem, but how about a variance of 2-3 power levels?

If even that is too much, I may jut need to do some re-scaling, but I was hoping to avoid it...

Within combat, a difference of power levels adds up quickly.\

Chances of winning combat:
Elric wrote:0 PLs up: 50% exactly (A good test case. See below for more)
1 PL up: 72.0%
2 PLs up: 87.3%
3 PLs up: 95.6%
4 PLs up: 99.1%

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby Fists of Dorn » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:07 pm

samca wrote:I pitched a game to my group to use DC Adventures to run a self-contained campaign of a set number of sessions, with the players as the Justice League. I figure I'll be using a heavily modified Time of Crisis, adjusted to be a bit more like the actual Crisis on Infinite Earths.

(Although I'm a bit tempted to use Darkseid instead of the Anti-Monitor... Hm, we'll see. But regardless.)

So far so good!



If the players and GM are mature about the situation of a mixed-PL game, then it can work just fine. Lower PL heroes can greatly aid their allies in combats by engaging in the tasks where they can excel: Setting up foes for a hard-hitting ally, disabling a death trap while a super-strong ally prevents the walls from crushing them all, crawling through an alien warship to disable its engines while the more powerful team members keep the aliens busy. So while the lower-PL hero may not always be punching out the villain, if the GM has done his part in setting up the events so that everyone can participate equally, then there is something of equal importance for them to do.



samca wrote:My concern: How big a problem will it be to just take the characters as written in the book, hand them out as character sheets, and go from there? If one player takes Batman and another takes Martian Manhunter, is the game basically broken? Or is it possible to work with the varying power levels - maybe compensate with Hero Points or something along those lines?



The heroes as written in the books will keep the team pretty well balanced without the GM needing to give hero points to lower-PL characters. Most of those lower-PL characters have a greater skill selection and therefor have something to offer the team that many of the powerful heroes don't have.

As long as every battle isn't won or lost by punching out the super villain, it can work well.



-Fists.

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby Quistar » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:36 pm

I already adapted the 2.0 version of Time of Crisis to run in the DC Universe. I did a good number of substitutions for characters and mixed it up a bit. Bear in mind, the mod was written for a PL 10 party so if you're using the JLA as written, you'll need to beef up some of the opposition. I used the stats for Omega and played them for a weakened Anti-Monitor (less than PLX rank).

I'm planning on running it again and using Earth-26 (or Earth C, for those that remember it!). :twisted:

- Andrew <:-(}

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:11 am

Quistar wrote:I'm planning on running it again and using Earth-26 (or Earth C, for those that remember it!). :twisted:


Cool. Say 'hi' to RRR and Peter P. for me. And I hope you use the Earth-C version, without the slap in the face the Didioised version was.
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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby CSABadass » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:56 am

Mr Mole wrote:
Earth-Two_Kenn wrote:1) What is Time of Crisis?

Image
There's also and updated version for 2nd edition (Time of Crisis 2.0).

Full of Canadian supervillains, Nazi brain tanks, super apes, dark doppelgangers, and multiverse shattering conflict.

All of Prof McGlothlin's works should be required reading in school... :mrgreen:


They are in my classes.
:D

And thank you very much!

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby Mr Mole » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:34 pm

CSABadass wrote:They are in my classes.
:D

And thank you very much!

You're welcome, but I don't know that me voicing my opinions is really worthy of thanks. Where you're work is concerned, my opinions tend to be pretty high... But they're still just opinions. Your comic book influences, inspirations and tastes run pretty close to mine, and you're work reflects those tendencies. Your creativity and enthusiasm come through in your writing style and they're contagious. Green Ronin has an excellent track record when it comes to utilizing people who are passionate about what they do, who produce professional quality labors of love.

Once again, just my opinion... Be careful about encouraging me to share my opinions, though, 'cause they're generally as likely to be met with curses as they are thanks. :roll:

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Re: Limited Campaign Using Justice League - Power Level Conc

Postby samca » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:53 am

Quistar wrote:I already adapted the 2.0 version of Time of Crisis to run in the DC Universe. I did a good number of substitutions for characters and mixed it up a bit. Bear in mind, the mod was written for a PL 10 party so if you're using the JLA as written, you'll need to beef up some of the opposition. I used the stats for Omega and played them for a weakened Anti-Monitor (less than PLX rank).


One thing I've been thinking about is a way to introduce the Anti-Monitor before the final battle. In the comics, we got months of appearances by the Anti-Monitor before the heroes actually confront him, so it didn't seem to come out of nowhere. In "Time of Crisis" as written, the players likely know about Omega already as the setting megavillain.

However, I'm adapting this for a group whose exposure to DC Comics is mostly the Dini-Timm animated series. If I just run it as written, when the Anti-Monitor shows up at the end, the reaction will probably be a shrug. So I'm trying to think of ways to inject Anti-Monitor (or Omega, if running the Freedom CIty version) into proceedings earlier in the story than the ending, if anyone has any ideas...


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