Thursday, June 10, 2021

Moving Goal Posts

 As I play with the subtleties of the numbers, I am starting to think of one relatively minor tweak… setting 13 (and not 14) as ‘superhuman’. I had 14 because that was the break point in the modifiers; it still is… however, if I shift everything down one point, I end up with the following ratings:





No modifier























 Here are the things I like about this:

It makes 18 the peak option for a prodigy with amazing intellect, charisma, or dexterity. This aligns nicely with old school D+D.

It’s subtle, but since 13 is now superhuman, and 32 is the default CR for a superhuman task, this aligns perfectly; you need a 19 or better at a 13 rating. This is exactly where I would want the jumping on point to be; you are just strong enough to try, but only have a 10% chance of success under normal conditions.

It makes 4 the ‘average human’, which aligns with Feats. It’s easier to remember that 4 is always ‘normal human’ modifier to anything; you can then quickly determine the modifier for any roll a normal human makes.

It makes 1 a legit number on the scale. The Hulk sells back so much INT that he gets to 1 to boost his STR off the scale. No hero can actually roll that low, but it’s out there as an option.

It gives me a little more wiggle room in the later cosmic gaming expansion; I think that 25-27 (+7), 28-30 (+8), 31-33 (+9), and 34-36 (+10) are on the cosmic end of things. 34-36 become this game’s ‘class 5000’. That aligns well with the CR settings (you are automatically successful on even the most challenging CRs, which are at 36).

Best of all, it puts all my break points where I want them. The previous scale was just a smidge off; now, 13 STR allowing you to lift one ton is superhuman; this is (in my head canon) where Beast is; I have always thought of 13 as the beginning of ‘remarkable’, but then allowed normal humans to push into this… now I scale it back slightly, and feel SO much better about it.

Here is the revised chart of awesomeness…

Revised Super Chart of Awesomeness

Rating (mod)





1 (-1)


10 lbs.


50 F

2 (-1)


30 lbs.


50 F

3 (-1)


50 lbs.

>1 mph

55 F

4 (--)


70 lbs.

1 mph

60 F

5 (--)


100 lbs.

2 mph

65 F

6 (--)


150 lbs.

3 mph

Standard room (70 F)

7 (+1)


200 lbs.

4 mph

80 F

8 (+1)


300 lbs.

6 mph

90 F

9 (+1)


500 lbs.

9 mph

100 F

10 (+2)


700 lbs.

12 mph

Highest Temp on Earth (120 F)

11 (+2)


1,000 lbs.

20 mph

140 F

12 (+2)


1,500 lbs.

30 mph

160 F

13 (+3)


1 ton

40 mph

180 F

14 (+3)


3 tons

60 mph

Boiling Point of Water (200 F)

15 (+3)


5 tons

90 mph

300 F

16 (+4)


7 tons

120 mph

400 F

17 (+4)


10 tons

200 mph

500 F

18 (+4)


15 tons

300 mph

Inside an oven (600 F)

19 (+5)


20 tons

400 mph

900 F

20 (+5)


30 tons

600 mph

1200 F

21 (+5)


50 tons

900 mph

1500 F

22 (+6)


70 tons

1,200 mph

Lava (2000 F)

23 (+6)


100 tons

2,000 mph

4000 F

24 (+6)


150 tons

3,000 mph

6000 F

25 (+7)


200 tons

4,000 mph

8000 F


A few minor notes:

I’ve cleaned up found weapons a bit. I really like it now; it’s simple and something that any brick is probably going to take (unless you already carry around a sledgehammer or wrecking ball). There is a significant benefit to picking up stuff in the environment and hitting your enemy with it, and there is less to track; you don’t have to worry about the item degrading (it automatically falls apart or loses its effectiveness at the end of the round anyway), and with the found weapons talent you don’t have to use an action to grab a found weapon; you just get to attempt a Feat at the start of every round to see if one’s around. I could see the huge tanks taking this and effectiveness a few times; you could ultimately have a 60% chance of grabbing a weapon each round that deals +2D12 damage if you go all in on this option. This is what Hulk is doing. Half the time, Hulk is grabbing a tank or bulldozer and beating you with it. That aligns with the source material pretty well.

Character advancement feels much cleaner. You make many small improvements to your character each level. You are not suddenly learning how to fly or how to fire energy from your eyes; you fly a little faster, your energy hits a little harder, it travels a little further. Small but significant changes accompany each level increase, but your fundamental character remains the same across the levels.

This last piece reflects another minor shift in thinking – I have tried to move away from modifying existing mechanics on the fly – (oh, it’s a found weapon – roll 2d6 instead of 2d4, and take +3 instead of +1) – instead, it’s in addition (roll your normal attack and damage but roll an extra 1d6 for the found weapon). This is just easier to implement in play. Everything is aligned to make the game faster, smoother, and cleaner whenever possible, without sacrificing verisimilitude.

I only played Champions one time, but I recall being disappointed during character creation. I had a concept for my character, but the game didn’t really allow it. I HAD to find a way to get my base attack to 10d6, and I HAD to find a way to get it to bypass armor, and I HAD to find a way to have it do some other mechanical thing I can’t remember – and I remember everyone at the table nodding vigorously that I was going to significantly gimp my character if I didn’t do these things. I wasn’t playing a superhero – I was playing a stack of statistics that just happened to call my thing ‘fire’ and you were calling yours ‘mental attack’, but they were secondary to the number crunching on the front end. I feel like Stalwart Age (so far) is putting that stuff on the back burner enough that the character concept and cool powers can move to the foreground.

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