[Kickstarter] Ron Edwards' Champions

Apparition

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Well, this isn't something you see every day. Hero Games is running a Kickstarter campaign for a reimagined Champions Third Edition by Ron Edwards, (yes, that Ron Edwards).

Hero Games is proud to present Champions Now, to be created by pioneering game designer Ron Edwards, author of Sorcerer and co-founder of The Forge. Ron will revisit the original three editions of first-generation Champions (1981 to 1988), recovering the power of this foundational era of superhero roleplaying.

[...] So our goal for Champions Now? To show you why the original Champions created by George MacDonald and Steve Peterson was actually just that good. To celebrate and recover that explosive quality. The final work will include best practices for the original rules and a new rules-set to bring their strengths forward, as well as practical essays about superhero comics and gaming.
Playtest document can be found here.
 
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I, uh... those are not things that I think of as going together. Did Ron Edwards have a previous relationship with Champions?
 

Dumarest

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Seems odd to me, but could be I just cynically think that the best way to "to show you why the original Champions created by George MacDonald and Steve Peterson was actually just that good" would be to re-release it. :wink:

I wonder at this point if anything could resuscitate Champions/Hero System. I guess they gotta try.:thumbsup:
 

Bunch

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Seems odd to me, but could be I just cynically think that the best way to "to show you why the original Champions created by George MacDonald and Steve Peterson was actually just that good" would be to re-release it. :wink:

I wonder at this point if anything could resuscitate Champions/Hero System. I guess they gotta try.:thumbsup:
I think a rerelease of Champions I would be a good idea.
 

Dumarest

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I think a rerelease of Champions I would be a good idea.
Me too, especially if they retain the charm of the old typeset and Mark Williams art. I still have my badly beat-up copy.
 

Dumarest

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Never played it and never owned it.

DC Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes are all the supers games I ever really needed. I was lured to other games for awhile, but no more!
It has its advantages and its drawbacks. Creating just about exactly the power and character you envisioned is neat; the upfront workload not so much.
 

Bunch

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Never played it and never owned it.

DC Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes are all the supers games I ever really needed. I was lured to other games for awhile, but no more!
It's possibly my favorite RPG. So many fond memories and when played with non dickheads it's just funsies!

Fun fact for those of you who played second edition. Power costs vary by printing for 2nd edition. I have four copies of 2nd edition Champions I and one 1st edition. The costs seemed to be in flux for those early editions and printings.
 

Dumarest

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Interesting. I'll have to look at mine. I have 1st through 5th editions and two copies of 2nd, mainly because my copy of 2nd and its supplements are literally held together by tape. I don't really see myself going back to Champions but there is nostalgia value when I read these.
20180529_200626.jpg
 

Tommy Brownell

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I owned 4th edition. It was a nightmare in about every respect. Definitely NOT what I want out of a superhero game. But it certainly has its fans.
 

Tommy Brownell

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Care to elaborate? Most people seem to hold it in high regard and affection.
Character creation and gameplay. It was way, way more work than I want from a superhero game (or any RPG). I'm sure people who really dig the system got it to do whatever they wanted to, but I couldn't. I did honestly try. I don't remember if I wound up selling it, trading it, or giving it away, but it was about as fun for me as trying to run GURPS (which wasn't fun, either).
 

Bunch

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This Ron fellow is chatty.
 

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I am really intrigued. I’ll give the draft a good shake when I get home later today. (Hopefully it’s less complex and involved than 4+).
 

Bunch

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I've read the first bit, and I quite like the tone it's written in. Very pleasant and accessible.
Referring to the updates. But I'm not opposed to his tone. I'm just expecting to get a lot of updates.
 

robertsconley

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Care to elaborate? Most people seem to hold it in high regard and affection.
As a counterpoint I loved Champions and the Hero System. For more realistic campaigns I prefer GURPS but I ran a Champions 5th edition campaign a few years ago.

The main sell for me is the build your own power system. A list of generic effects and modifier work well to define what each power and ability does in the game. The main issue is the same as GURPS, the presentation in the core books amount to a reference comprised of long lists of stuff.

However unlike GURPS, Champions had the Until Database series and the Ultimate X series like Ultimate Brick. Those book were all about worked out example of various powers for the different kinds of superheroes. They explained the option in natural English, then in game terms, and finally showed how it was constructed from the elements in the core book.

Aside from the learning curve the only issue I found with player is the what you got for a given point level. Some wanted to play superman, flash, spider-man, etc but the starting point level made for lower powered heroes. Eventually they worked towards those level but a handful had a hard time adjusting to this. Alternatives seem better at catering to players who wanted to play at higher power levels.
 

SavAce

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Ron's blog last year had tons of Champions love going on. I've recently been enjoying the charms of DC Heroes/BoH, surprised at how well it does the super hero thing. I have a copy of 4th Edition Champions kicking around somewhere in my collection and admit I have banished it to some "I don't think I wanna deal with this" corner where GURPS lives without having ever really played it. I have no experience at all with the older editions. I love me some super hero gaming though, so I'm ready to sign on and see what magic this thing has to offer.
 

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You know, if someone were to ask me who the last person I'd want to see do a champions redesign is, good odds I would have said Edwards.
I would have guessed that too but he seems to have a good deal of respect for the game as it is based on the play test doc.
 

Bunch

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Ron's blog last year had tons of Champions love going on. I've recently been enjoying the charms of DC Heroes/BoH, surprised at how well it does the super hero thing. I have a copy of 4th Edition Champions kicking around somewhere in my collection and admit I have banished it to some "I don't think I wanna deal with this" corner where GURPS lives without having ever really played it. I have no experience at all with the older editions. I love me some super hero gaming though, so I'm ready to sign on and see what magic this thing has to offer.
As long as you can get passed the fact that it's pretty Frontloaded on complexity it's a good game. The second edition is where I started and I picked up the II and III supplements as they came out. It meant it wasn't initially possible to make all the characters I could think of but it dribbled the infominform out at a speed you could easily digest.

I also agree with Robert that the UNTIL and Ultimate series made it anyone easier for math challenged folks to build a character quickly.
 

Dumarest

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Aside from the learning curve the only issue I found with player is the what you got for a given point level. Some wanted to play superman, flash, spider-man, etc but the starting point level made for lower powered heroes. Eventually they worked towards those level but a handful had a hard time adjusting to this. Alternatives seem better at catering to players who wanted to play at higher power levels.
You know there are several options listed for how many points you start with depending on what power level you want, right?
 

robertsconley

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You know there are several options listed for how many points you start with depending on what power level you want, right?
Of course. But I generally started at the recommended level (250 points) mainly because at higher power levels the options quickly multiplied beyond what most novices to the RPG like to deal with. Since HERO isn't a hugely popular system coupled with the fact I live in a rural area means most campaigns start out with novices.
 

Dumarest

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Of course. But I generally started at the recommended level (250 points) mainly because at higher power levels the options quickly multiplied beyond what most novices to the RPG like to deal with. Since HERO isn't a hugely popular system coupled with the fact I live in a rural area means most campaigns start out with novices.
I agree...if you are actually doing point-buy and the players are not Hero aficionados, the more points they have the more difficult it can become. Yet another reason I stopped playing Hero despite its other merits.
 

robertsconley

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I agree...if you are actually doing point-buy and the players are not Hero aficionados, the more points they have the more difficult it can become. Yet another reason I stopped playing Hero despite its other merits.
If the players figure things out great otherwise I take care of it and give them a summary of how it works in a straight forward manner. So complexity hasn't been an issue.

For example John wants to add a tear gas launcher to his power suit. We talk about what it is capable of and I make it. While James knows 5th edition and comes to me with his idea for adding onto his speed powers. We talk about it and starts working towards result. In both cases I will incorporate a bit roleplaying involving the new addition into subsequent sessions until they earned the point needed to buy it. Sometimes there is a clear upgrade path, so we start out with a lower point prototype or "initial expression" of the power and move on from there.

The link to a post on the setting I use for my champions games.
http://batintheattic.blogspot.com/2008/10/superheroes.html
 

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You know, if someone were to ask me who the last person I'd want to see do a champions redesign is, good odds I would have said Edwards.
It's odd, yeah, but plenty of people are fans of all the various types of RPG. He evidently made a really good case to someone that he was a good man for the job.
 

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It is a point of curiosity that someone so prominent in pushing 'narrativism' in gaming, just have such a background immersed in a complex and mathematically driven 'simulationist' game, but I'll leave others to deconstruct what that could all be about.

To be honest, I'm not really sure what sort of product will come from it. Rewriting the language of the game to make it more accessible is laudable, but the developments from 3rd to 6th edition are mostly common sense changes to me, while the main issue with the current edition is mostly about layout and presentation (especially compared to other supers games like Mutants & Masterminds). There is virtue in going back to the roots and redeveloping from there - but it wouldn't be a recommendation while a current edition is still in print.
 

Dumarest

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There is virtue in going back to the roots and redeveloping from there - but it wouldn't be a recommendation while a current edition is still in print.
Is Champions Complete in print? 6th edition has been out of print for many years. It managed to go out of print before I even knew it was in print.
 

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Y’know, I’ve never heard of this guy. In what way is he “that” Rob Edwards?
 

thedungeondelver

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It didn't really fundamentally change all that much though until 6th edition, did it? Or was it 7th that went off the rails? I always thought of Hero system/Champions as being a "build onto prior edition by adding more multipliers/advantages/disads" than "go back and redo everything every new edition".
 

Dumarest

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It didn't really fundamentally change all that much though until 6th edition, did it? Or was it 7th that went off the rails? I always thought of Hero system/Champions as being a "build onto prior edition by adding more multipliers/advantages/disads" than "go back and redo everything every new edition".
Almost nothing changed from 1st through 5th except the different costs of powers and skills being recalibrated from time to time. 6th changed a lot by breaking up hitherto linked attributes like Strength and Body so one wasn't based on the other. There is no 7th unless you want to count Champions Complete, but that was really just a thinner, more streamlined version of 6th with a massive amount of text chopped out.
 

Trippy

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Is Champions Complete in print? 6th edition has been out of print for many years. It managed to go out of print before I even knew it was in print.
Yes - you can still buy it from the hero website and at Amazon. Its also available as POD recently from drivethru - which possibly indicates the end of a print run, but there is no indication that this project is set up to replace it.
 

Trippy

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Y’know, I’ve never heard of this guy. In what way is he “that” Rob Edwards?
Well, I'm not really wanting to spend much time dwelling on it, but Ron Edwards was the major figure at The Forge and the various games associated with it, including his own.

He created the 'indie' and 'narrative/GNS' identities (that's the best word I'd choose) that was a point of conflict for some in the 2000s (with some echoes continuing today) and wrote at least one online controversial essay that caused offence at the time. As I say, it's not really the best place to recall it all here, and to be fair to him, shouldn't be something we should reflect on as he tries to build support for an entirely unrelated project.

However, the point above about his history of liking Champions is an interesting contrast to the types of games and precepts he was arguing for at The Forge. I have a theory that the gamers who were most enamoured with the 'narrative' approaches in games like those created by The Forge, are often those whose previous experience tended to focus much more on simulationary and rules-laden systems. That is, there is a subset of gamers who think new games are revolutionary because they hadn't had as much experience of other games, or gaming groups, that were doing this sort of thing in earlier years.

I call it the Shawn Driscoll syndrome - as an example of someone who lectures other gamers with evangelical zeal, on the qualities of character and story driven gaming, over wargaming, as if people hadn't discovered this for themselves forty years ago. :smile:
 
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thedungeondelver

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Almost nothing changed from 1st through 5th except the different costs of powers and skills being recalibrated from time to time. 6th changed a lot by breaking up hitherto linked attributes like Strength and Body so one wasn't based on the other. There is no 7th unless you want to count Champions Complete, but that was really just a thinner, more streamlined version of 6th with a massive amount of text chopped out.
That's right...that's where the break was, thank you.

I have a 3e champions brick (a thinly-veiled Colossus rip-off) I've been using for 31 years now off and on; never changed a thing about him.
 

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That's right...that's where the break was, thank you.

I have a 3e champions brick (a thinly-veiled Colossus rip-off) I've been using for 31 years now off and on; never changed a thing about him.
The point costs probably would have changed if you used any advantages or disadvantages.
If I recall correctly Armor and defenses changed a bit between 3rd and 4th edition.
 

Jetstream

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Well, I'm not really wanting to spend much time dwelling on it, but Ron Edwards was the major figure at The Forge and the various games associated with it, including his own.

He created the 'indie' and 'narrative/GNS' identities (that's the best word I'd choose) that was a point of conflict for some in the 2000s (with some echoes continuing today) and wrote at least one online controversial essay that caused offence at the time. As I say, it's not really the best place to recall it all here, and to be fair to him, shouldn't be something we should reflect on as he tries to build support for an entirely unrelated project.

However, the point above about his history of liking Champions is an interesting contrast to the types of games and precepts he was arguing for at The Forge. I have a theory that the gamers who were most enamoured with the 'narrative' approaches in games like those created by The Forge, are often those whose previous experience tended to focus much more on simulationary and rules-laden systems. That is, there is a subset of gamers who think new games are revolutionary because they hadn't had as much experience of other games, or gaming groups, that were doing this sort of thing in earlier years.

I call it the Shawn Driscoll syndrome - as an example of someone who lectures other gamers with evangelical zeal, on the qualities of character and story driven gaming, over wargaming, as if people hadn't discovered this for themselves forty years ago. :smile:
Fair enough. I've heard of the GNS thing, but that's about it. Not familiar with "The Forge."
 
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