Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

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Atifexe
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Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 20 Oct 2014, 21:35

Original post is in collapse tags below.

This thread is now the Out of Character/Character Development thread for the Heroes Unlimited game I'm running. If you're curious about the system, want to comment that you're enjoying reading, or are interested in joining in to play, this is the place to speak up! This will also be the thread for players to discuss things out-of-character.

The Story: Some time in the near future, an organization utilizing advanced weapons and vehicle technology deploys across the globe, suppressing local law enforcement and implementing strict regulation on daily activities. They claim to be part of a secret organization that has existed for over a thousand years, working to protect human kind from the designs of another organization bent on dominating the world through magic. They claim that their global occupation is a necessity to stave off a ritual that would summon a cataclysmic entity that this other organization would use to tyrannical ends. Though this seems like poppycock, they have abilities and devices that far outstrip anything that can be matched with modern technology, and people have no choice but to abide by their decisions.

Over the course of about two weeks, the player characters are all contacted by a strange individual. He knows a little too much about each of them, and claims that within each of them is the seed of a great power that is needed to free the world from its new dictators. He's able to convince them all to meet at a predetermined, semi-private location in which to discuss just what that means.

Original Post - Click to Expand
Hello, everyone! I was discussing the idea of running a play by post Heroes Unlimited game recently, and there was a reasonable amount of interest expressed, as well as curiosity as to what exactly the system was. I said I'd post here with some descriptions both of the system and of the specific campaign ideas I had, to see if there was enough interest to get this going.

Heroes Unlimited is a pen and paper RPG by Palladium Books, who are arguably best known for being the creators of RIFTS. HU is a non-Mega Damage setting featuring rules for all sorts of superheroes, from non-powered Super Sleuths all the way up to Immortal minor gods, and pretty much everything in between.

The system uses a variety of dice, with the most common being D20 (used for initiative, attack, and defense rolls), D10 (used for rolling percentile on skills), and D6 (damage and base stats). For online games, I prefer to use Invisible Castle's dice roller, as it provides the ability to easily link to the roll results.

Players have eight primary stats: IQ, Mental Endurance (will), Mental Affinity (charisma), Physical Strength, Physical Prowess (dexterity), Physical Endurance (toughness), Physical Beauty, and Speed. There are several secondary stats as well - HP (for life-threatening injuries), SDC (Structural damage capacity, a strange term for nonlethal damage), ISP (Inner strength points, used for psychic powers), and PPE (Potential psychic energy, used for magic).

Combat takes place in 'melee rounds'. each of which are supposed to represent approximately 15 seconds of real time. Characters get a number of actions during that time based on the type of combat training they have and how experienced they are. Talking doesn't take an action, but pretty much everything else - drawing a weapon, throwing a punch, using a superpower - takes at least one.

I feel my description may be running a bit long, so I'll cut it off here. I'm happy to answer any questions, though, so don't hesitate to ask!

Note: Before I go on, I'd just like to say that if you'd be interested in playing, but don't have the books and/or are completely unfamiliar with the system, I'm entirely open to presenting several premade character options for people to choose from or use as inspiration. Please don't feel you have to turn away because you don't know the game.

In regards to campaign ideas, I've been throwing around a few, and to a certain degree, they have some interchangeable elements that can be adjusted to suit player preferences.

Idea 1: This involves a mostly modern setting where superpowers are unheard of. Some time in the near future, an organization utilizing advanced weapons and vehicle technology deploys across the globe, suppressing local law enforcement and implementing strict regulation on daily activities. They claim to be part of a secret organization that has existed for over a thousand years, working to protect human kind from the designs of another organization bent on dominating the world through magic. They claim that their global occupation is a necessity to stave off a ritual that would summon a cataclysmic entity that this other organization would use to tyrannical ends. Though this seems like poppycock, they have abilities and devices that far outstrip anything that can be matched with modern technology, and people have no choice but to abide by their decisions.

Over the course of about two weeks, the player characters are all contacted by a strange individual. He knows a little too much about each of them, and claims that within each of them is the seed of a great power that is needed to free the world from its new dictators. He's able to convince them all to meet at a predetermined, semi-private location in which to discuss just what that means.

This idea would limit the player characters to the Mutant class, and as I envision it, feature the greatest degree of power development over time, starting from one minor superpower and growing significantly over time.

Idea 2: In the distant future, humanity has spread across the stars and colonized many planets. Along the way, various genetic mutations and strange cosmic phenomena have resulted in the development of a wide array of strange talents and abilities which, while rare, are no longer a cause for concern. While people with powers are often in demand in a number of careers, the biggest draw is entertainment, where people who can fire blasts of energy from their hands or withstand a barrage of bullets without injury help cut special effects costs to almost nothing.

In this campaign, the players would all have been recruited by a movie studio seeking to revive the ancient superhero movie genre. The campaign would consist of segmented episodes (basically, movie plots), and would allow for individual character arcs (solo movies) as well as group adventures. No Mega Heroes or Immortals here, but other than that, this one offers a greater flexibility in character class.

Idea 3: I write the story to fit the group. Everyone rolls up a character, we make some tweaks as necessary to ensure the group can work together, and I do my best to work on the fly and come up with an adventure that plays to everyone's strengths and weaknesses in turn. This one is the hardest for me, and is best suited to a group of players who are familiar enough with the system to come up with their own characters.

So, now I open the floor. Would anyone be interested in playing? If so, which campaign sounds the most interesting to you, and would you prefer a premade hero or one of your own design?
Last edited by Atifexe on 30 Nov 2014, 16:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby My pseudonym is Ix » 21 Oct 2014, 05:22

Sounds excellent, count me in. I think Idea 1 sounds the most promising.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby DoktorNik » 21 Oct 2014, 07:08

I would also love to take a look into this, sounds like a ton of fun.

I also agree with Ix, idea one sounds like it could be the most fun.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 23 Oct 2014, 14:54

Woo! That's two so far. I'm hoping to run the game with four to five players, but if not enough are interested, I think I can adapt to fewer. Are either of you two familiar with the system? Would you prefer for m e to present a few character examples, or would you like to come up with your own?
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 24 Oct 2014, 14:03

Hold on there, cowpoke. This is the first I heard tell of a Heroes Unlimited game. Color me interested.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby JackSlack » 24 Oct 2014, 14:06

I gotta ask: Why Heroes Unlimited? I mean, my nostalgia senses kicked powerfully into gear there, but I'd have thought something like Spirit of the Century, Silver Age Sentinels or even Aberrant would adapt better to PByP.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 24 Oct 2014, 14:22

Come to think of it, pretty much ANY Fate game is really well-suited to Play By Post.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 24 Oct 2014, 15:56

I selected Heroes Unlimited because it's a system I'm familiar with, am fond of, and have the books for. I'm afraid I haven't actually heard of any of those other systems.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby JackSlack » 25 Oct 2014, 02:45

Fair enough!
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 25 Oct 2014, 05:51

I'm totally onboard for Heroes Unlimited. I'm not too familiar with the game or its system, but I love RPGs. I've played plenty of Spirit of the Century and Marvel Super Heroes, so I imagine I could pick this up pretty easily.

I'm not picky about campaigns, although I'm not a fan of ones that restrict character choices. Maybe if I can see the options available in the Mutant category.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 25 Oct 2014, 11:30

Mutant is, in my opinion, the least restrictive power category in HU. I would want each player character to start out with one or two minor super powers (out of about 250), and as they level up, they'd potentially gain additional powers, or have their powers upgrade from minor to major (of which there are around 210).

If you'd like to play a bruiser, you could select powers that boost your strength, endurance, size, healing rate, even one that allows you to shift the density of your body.

If you'd like to play a technologically-inclined character, there are powers that cover being able to innately understand or merge with machines, being able to transform into one, being able to jury rig devices with parts that shouldn't work (and won't, unless you're close enough), or simply having an exceptional IQ (which in turn grants skill proficiency bonuses).

Sneaky characters can gain an immunity to being photographed, create doorways through solid objects, alter their skin to blend in with surfaces nearby, or even manipulate reality to alter the distance between two points.

Of course, you could also go with a straight blaster - shoot energy blasts at stuff, transform into a being of pure plasma, or even create a clone of pure energy that possesses all of your abilities, plus a few bonuses for not having organic internal structures.

These are just some really vague, stereotypical examples. If you'd like something more specific, I can grab some dice and roll up an example random power progression for a character.

In addition, Mutants have a few options for physical appearance variations (and by a few, I mean a random table that covers about a page and a half in the rulebook). I'm also open to adapting the rules to fit character concepts, so if you want to play someone who, say, has a demon bound to them as the source of their abilities and must continuously battle the demon to force it to relinquish more of its power, that could be arranged. Similarly if you want your character to be unable to use their powers unless they transform in some way, or have a 'berserk button' that triggers a shift in personality/boost in power level/activates an Alter Physical Structure power (Friends are out cold. Defeat is imminent. I feel something shift, some weight lift from my shoulders, and I see a look of horror and revulsion spread on my enemy's face. I look down, realizing that my flesh has sloughed away, and I am now made entirely of dry bones. In this moment, it doesn't matter. I have to win. I have to survive.).

So... Yeah. Being a mutant means your powers come from within you, basically, rather than from a device, an experiment, an alien physiology or the study of magic. There are vast possibilities even within this restriction, and I'm willing to bend and stretch it if it means people wind up playing characters that they find interesting. If anyone has a character concept they'd like to try, let me know and I'll see how it can be done within the setting. =)
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 25 Oct 2014, 11:53

Okay, that sounds pretty cool. Still, I'd really like to read the book myself as opposed to being told about it. I don't suppose there's any way we could share it?
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Omnicrat » 25 Oct 2014, 12:30

I already stated my interest before there even WAS a post for this, and that interest is not gone. I would also like a PDF of these books if anyone knows where some might be, as I have not read the rules in probably close to a decade by now.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 25 Oct 2014, 13:49

I'm actually drawing from five different books (Heroes Unlimited, Armageddon Unlimited, and Powers Unlimited 1, 2, and 3), of which three contain an average of just under 100 pages of ability information. I feel that's more than I can reasonably share online, and they aren't available for sale as e-books at the moment. You can order the physical books through their site (they're even doing a Christmas Grab Bag at the moment where you give them about $40 and they give you at least twice that selected from your wishlist), and that's rather different from what you're asking.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 25 Oct 2014, 14:18

Eh, there are ways to obtain PDFs. I'll keep that to myself, though.

I actually really like Idea 2 as far as campaigns go. But I prefer character-oriented stuff, so no surprise there. Certainly not opposed to the first idea.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 25 Oct 2014, 23:15

As I say, if anyone has an idea or concept for a character, I can help you realize it in game form, explaining along the way some of the various options both for initial design and for advancement. In my opinion, this is the ideal method for someone who is interested in playing and doesn't own the books.

So far, it appears we have two votes for the first idea and one for the second. Omnicrat didn't express a preference. Personally, I think I'm leaning more towards the the first idea at this point.

Ix and DoktorNik, do you have character ideas? If so, are you cool with discussing them in this thread, or would you prefer to take them to PM?
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby My pseudonym is Ix » 26 Oct 2014, 02:08

I have SEVERAL character ideas in the broadest sense, but don't know the system so am not sure how viable they are- I'm not sure what counts as a 'minor' vs 'major' power, for example, so am not sure how to start things off. Any advice?
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 26 Oct 2014, 06:36

I have a couple of character ideas as well, that I'm perfectly comfortable with discussing publicly.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 26 Oct 2014, 08:07

@Ix - If it turns out that the powers you're interested in having can only be replicated as a major ability, then we can treat it as the direction your character will evolve in. There isn't a really clear delineation between the two, other than major abilities are clearly more powerful than minor ones. I think that the best way to start would be for you to fire one of those concepts out there, and we can talk back and forth until we determine how it will work. If you'd like to explore a couple different ideas at once, I'm cool with that, too.

@Prospero - Awesome! Could I ask you to elaborate, please?
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 26 Oct 2014, 08:11

Speaking purely in terms of power sets, I have ideas for a shapeshifter, a vampire, and a John Woo-style gunslinger.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 26 Oct 2014, 09:00

A shapeshifter capable of assuming a variety of forms, or just in the sense of a were-creature?

A full on vampire might be a little powerful for the initial stages of the game if we go with the first campaign idea, and the traditional weakness to sunlight might make working alongside the other characters more difficult. It's certainly a possibility, though. Were there specific traits of a vampire you wanted to replicate? Any customizations you wanted to make?

For the gunslinger, my thoughts are the minor powers Lightning Reflexes and Gun Limb. Lightning Reflexes, as the name suggests, offers a number of combat buffs as well as the Weapon Proficiency skill Paired Weapons. Gun Limb normally allows you to transform your hand and forearm into a gun, but I see no reason why it couldn't be materializing a gun instead. The power states that you get two bullets free per character level each combat round, but may choose to pay 1 HP to generate an extra 12 bullets. Because the weapons are literally manifested from your body, I'd have no problem saying you could apply your hand to hand combat bonuses to attacks made with these guns.

That is, of course, just one possibility, and I specifically tailored the suggestion to fit with the starting scenario in the first idea. Does that sound good to you, or would you rather your character's ability come from pure training?
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 26 Oct 2014, 09:10

I can drop the vampire idea if it presents too many problems. I'm just marathoning True Blood at the moment. XD I'm much more attached to my other two ideas.

A shapeshifter in the Mystique sense, i.e. able to assume the appearance of other people. A more far-fetched idea is that of the "Evil Twin." He can assume the appearance of a doppelganger perfectly tailored to kill and replace the person he's copying.

The only part of the gunslinger idea I don't really care for is the Gun Limb. I picture him having a great affinity and attachment to his weapons, but generating them from thin air just doesn't resonate with me. Maybe he has a general proficiency with guns, but gains particular bonuses when using his special ones? Or maybe takes a drawback when he uses guns that AREN'T his? Are there any other minor powers that would fit? I like Lightning Reflexes, to be sure.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Omnicrat » 26 Oct 2014, 10:33

Oh, forgot to mention support for idea number 3.
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Atifexe » 26 Oct 2014, 10:39

Fair enough. As I say, it can certainly be done, and as the most clearly vampire-related powers are either at the Major or Mega-Hero power levels.

The Shapechanger major power would be what you're looking for here, I think. The only thing it doesn't do is replicate the voice (but it provides a +15% skill bonus to impersonation attempts). A quick skim through my books doesn't show any powers that cover mimicking voices, so we may have to invent one if this is the character idea you'd like to move forward with.

I thought the Gun Limb part might not fit with what you had in mind. I have so many books that I don't remember exactly which one it's in, and one of them includes rules for customized grips. I believe they give the person who the gun is customized for +1 on strike rolls, while giving anyone else who tries to use the weapon -1. If you'd like, we could add to the customized weapons by saying he'd trained with them to the extent where he gets a +1 when using them, and a -1 when using others. When shooting at a character with no defensive modifiers, you need a 5 or higher to hit within 60 feet and an 8 or higher when outside that range, so even before applying bonuses from general weapons training your character would be in great shape. Of course, trying to shoot a weapon out of someone's hand or shoot them between the eyes from 100 feet away is a slightly different matter, but even with halved bonuses and a higher target number you'll be pulling off shots no one else can.

In regards to additional minor powers that might fit:
  • Extraordinary Physical Prowess is similar to Lightning Reflexes but provides more generalized bonuses, including directly buffing stats.
  • Heightened Sense of Hearing could allow you to detect the presence of people despite their best efforts to sneak, in proper action hero fashion.
  • Danger Sense is a more generalized ability, giving you about a 3 second warning of impending danger without any specifics of where it's coming from. It does grant immunity to surprise attacks, however.
  • Supervision: Circular Vision gives the character a full 360 degree field of vision. It comes with a couple small penalties due to distraction (-2 on initiative, -5% on skill performance), but provides a +2 to dodge and like Lightning Reflexes, allows you to dodge attacks without consuming an action (normally, dodging reduces your remaining actions that round by one, and if you have no actions remaining, starts eating into your actions for the next round).

There is one other power that I considered suggesting, but on reading its full effect, I feel it might be too powerful in the first campaign setting. Mechanical Awareness gives a bunch of bonuses when dealing with opponents relying on technology, as well as negating any bonuses that opponent has, giving those opponents a penalty to dodge, and makes those opponents lose two actions per combat round when attempting to engage the character with the ability. Specifically within that setting, I feel that this ability should be considered a Major super ability.

@Omnicrat: Support noted. =) Any specific kind of hero you'd want to play in that setting?
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Re: Heroes Unlimited Play By Post?

Postby Prospero101 » 26 Oct 2014, 10:45

I like Extraordinary Physical Prowess or Circular Vision. I like the idea of a gunslinger/kung fu fighter Yakuza hitman. It SEEMS at first like he's just well-trained, but becomes more obviously super as he develops? I like that idea.

The customized grip idea is definitely what I was going for. I'm picturing a couple customized Colt 1911s with engravings and custom grips and whatnot.
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