Vanguard Roll Call!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Vanguard PBEM House Rules!

With gratitude and thanks to anyone who ever posted a house rule to a V&V forum.

House Rules:
Start with V&V 2nd edition, and make the following changes:

Basic Characteristics:
Charisma also represents Will. This is already factored into the rules.

Starting Stats are: 18, 16, 14, 12, 10 Like all things, this may be modified based on the strength or weakness of the character.

Hit Points:
Swap Strength and Agility hit point modifiers.

Detect Hidden and Detect Danger:
Add your Level to your basic % chance.

The type of Superpowers called Skills will now be referred to as Super Skills.
All players start the game with a number of skills equal to: Int /10 (rounded) +4
Anyone may add Int/5 skills during any Level Advancement

When using a skill, your chance at success is (primary stat for the skill x 3) + Level %
Example: Kairos’ skill at Archeology is (his Intelligence (21) x 3 + his Level (3)) = 66%

Anyone may take any skill twice. Doing so makes the multiplier a 4, not a 3. Of your starting skills, one is assumed to have been doubled already, and is the character’s Primary Skill
Example: Sentinel’s primary skill is Computer Science: (Intelligence (15) x 4 + his Level (4)) = 64% Conditions and Difficulties can modify a die roll negatively or positively.

Super Power Descriptions:
Death Touch: If only one save is made, the touch is partially successful and the victim loses all of his remaining Power Points, at a cost to the attacker of 10 Power Points.

No character may have more than 2 actions per turn (usually 1 action per Issue) unless the character has a base initiative of 46, due to Heightened Speed, Heightened Agility, etc.
In that case, they have 4 actions per turn (and 2 actions per Issue).

Hand to Hand Combat: The base chance to hit with HTH is 10. All numbers on the HTH attack column of the Combat Chart are likewise multiplied by 2.

Level vs. Level Modifier: Eliminate the chart and subtract the target’s level from the attacker’s level to get the combat modifier.

Experience Points:
Powers like Armor, Invulnerability, Noncorporealness and others can augment the experience points earned for capturing a villain.

Fighting a villain, but not capturing them, can still earn partial experience points.

Morale Checks/Cool Rolls:
When something bad or insane happens (like the first appearance of the non-Euclidean Star Giant or of the 100 foot tall Doomsday Robot, or the sudden arrival of 40 super villains), a character rolls one d20 against their Charisma to see if they lose their cool. Charisma is the strength of a person's personality.

If the roll is equal to or lower than their charisma, they remain calm. If it’s higher than their Charisma, then they will suffer a -1 penalty per point over their score on ANY d20 roll, or -5% on d100. Every turn, this modifier is lessened by one point (So it takes 8 turns to wear away a -8).
Comic book examples:
-Psycho-Man has Emotion Control Fear that makes everyone lose their cool and suffer such penalties.
-Batman has a skill called Intimidation. If he succeeds on his skill, he can force cool rolls on opponents. Low-Charisma goons get so scared by Batman that they can’t hit him with machine guns.
-Wonder Man freezes up when he first encounters the all-powerful Count Nefaria.

A person can attempt to calm others. By using all their remaining movement to talk or yell or bark orders they can raise everyone's charisma score by their cool roll reaction modifier, to talk them down from their state of panic, etc. (Thereby quickening the duration of the negative modifiers).
Comic book example: Captain America’s speechifying to WW2 infantrymen or low-level Avengers, like Wonder Man circa 1970s.

PBEM Communication:
IC means In Character. This is you roleplaying your hero.
OOC means Out of Character. This is the Player speaking.

Luck Points:
Every level increase gives you Charisma/10 Luck Points. For example, if you’ve got a 12 Charisma, then every level you get 1.2 Luck Points.

What are Luck Points good for? Here are the possible uses:

-Add a +4 Bonus Modifier to any single die roll (attack, damage, skill, saving throw, etc.) during a pivotal dramatic moment. You must call it before the dice are rolled. Example: Luke closes his eyes and blows apart the Death Star by trusting in the Force.

-Have a brilliant idea. Examples: Crack a code, create a code, navigate through a labyrinth, cut the red wire not the blue wire. You can also attempt a significant breakthrough in a chosen mundane profession: this could be a first novel for a freelance writer, a big Vegas weekend for a professional gambler, or a major published work for an academic.

-Gain a vital clue or hint from the GM. -Create a “one-shot” invention. If you’re a super-scientist or a MacGyver type, you can cobble together a new device. The drawback: a limited duration of use, and you need the required materials and resources in order to build it. Examples: Lightning Strike augments a carrier wave to transmit himself to the nuclear missile. Reed Richards goes to his lab and quickly builds a flame-retardant foam-thrower gun to combat a fiery villain. Chance to successfully create a one-shot invention: Intelligence x 3%.
This and the Character Advancement Rules takes the place of the V&V inventing rules.

-Develop a highly useful contact. Example: Commissioner Gordon from Batman.

-Escape death. Regardless of how far past the negative of your Basic Hits, your character somehow miraculously escapes death but is reduced to 0 Hit Points and 1d6+3 Power. Comicbook villains are infamous for this use of Luck Points.

-Anything else you can think of. Run it by me for approval.

Rules for Character Generation:
Here’s my approach to V&V character generation, designed to help power balance among the player characters:

You may choose your super powers and super skills. Every adult super-character has 3 hero points to generate a character.

A super skill is an ability that usually comes from training. It costs 1 hero point. Examples: Heightened Intelligence, Heightened Senses, Heightened Expertise, etc.

A super power is a full-fledged paranormal ability. It costs 2 hero points. Examples: Power Blast, Invulnerability, Flight, Force Field, etc.

Weaknesses are flaws that harm a character.
One super weakness gives you 2 additional hero points to spend on powers and super skills.* Examples: Blindness, Mute, Low Self Control, Kryptonite, Claustrophobic, etc.
One minor weakness gives you 1 additional hero point to spend on powers and super skills.* Examples: lesser versions of the above: Blind only during the Day, Low Self Control that can be managed through a device or other means, Psychological Limitations, etc.

(*A superhero character cannot add more than 2 additional hero points via weaknesses)

So your starting character will have one of the following Power Combinations:
a) One super power and one super skill.
b) One super power, two super skills, and one minor weakness.
c) One super power, three super skills, and one super weakness.
d) One super power, three super skills and two minor weaknesses.
e) Two super powers, and one minor weakness
f) Two super powers, one super skill, and one super weakness.
g) Two super powers, one super skill, and two minor weaknesses.
h) Three super skills.
i) Four super skills and one minor weakness.
j) Five super skills and one super weakness.
k) Five super skills and two minor weaknesses.

With every level increase, you get an additional ½ Hero Point to add new abilities to your character.

Character Advancement:
Every level, your character improves. Here's how.
First, throw away the V&V rules on Inventing and Training. Use this instead:

With every level increase, a character may add 1/2 a hero point to their sheet. This is equivalent to ½ of a Super Skill or ¼ of a Super Power. If you really want a new big, full-blown super-power, you may save up Hero Points until you can afford it. Or you may buy new weaknesses to help offset its cost. See below.

The ways that superheroes get new abilities include, but are not limited to:

a) Training to get better physical super-skills or stats. Comic Book Example: the X-Men in the danger room, Captain America in the gym. Game Examples: Slingshot trains to improve his chance to hit with his fists by +2. Sentinel trains to increase his Charisma (Will). Stat point increase = (9-your new level).

b) Studying to learn new skills, areas of knowledge, or even powers. Comic Book Example: Wolverine learns Japanese, Batman was constantly studying to improve his skills, Doctor Strange studied to learn new magic spells. Game Example: After the death of Nanite, Slingshot wishes to study Robotics.

c) Mutation of an unexpected nature. Makes the most sense with heroes whose powers are tied to their DNA, like mutants or ‘accidental scientific’ origin types. Comic Book Example: Chemicals trigger a mutation in Beast’s DNA, giving him blue fur. Hypothetical Game Example: The Harper Harness has an unexpected side effect that permits Symbiote to hold one absorbed super power for a 24 hour duration. Inhuman mutates further and grows webs between his fingers, increasing his swimming speed.

d) Discovery of pre-existing powers that are latent or otherwise hidden. Comic Book Example: Invisible Girl is discovered to have Force Fields, years after her origin event. Game Example: Sentinel discovers he always had latent telepathic senses, related to his Heightened Senses. Kairos discovers he has the ability to manifest the powers of Greek Gods.

e) Finding a new device, object, etc. These can also come with Weaknesses or future plot points. Comic Book Example: Spider-Man’s Venom costume. Hypothetical Game Example: Forester discovered a mystical charm on Morgue’s corpse and is foolish/ clever enough to hang onto it.

f) Invention of a brand new power. Usually works best with super scientist types. Comic Book Example: Ant-Man becomes Giant Man by inventing Size Change Larger. Game Example: Lightning Strike invents Energy Absorbing powers, so he can gain Power Points from any electrical source, not just massive ones. Forester devises 2 new special arrows for his arsenal.

g) Receiving powers from another being. These too can also come with Weaknesses or future plot points that are not always pleasant. Comic Book Example: Frankie Raye becomes Nova at the hands of Galactus. Hypothetical Game Examples: In gratitude, the Black Bat gives Kairos the gift of immortality, with only a few strings attached. ;)

h) Modification of an existing Super Power, usually through practice. Comic Book Example: The Human Torch trains to go Supernova with his Flame Powers. Cyclops learns to create a wide beam blast that lets him target an area. Hypothetical Game Examples: Forester masters a new ability to slow his heartbeat and feign death. Sentinel learns to make his energy creations fly faster, or make them glow bright enough to temporarily blind a target.

i) Also: Heroes may opt to pay down their Weaknesses, eventually eliminating them! Comic Book Example: The Thing’s Reduced Charisma, that had him acting as nearly a villain in Fantastic Four issues 1-50, is severely lessened thereafter. Game Example: Forester meditates to control his lycanthropy.

Your new abilities should make sense with your character’s existing personality and motif.