The Champions Campaign With No Name

I would just like to say, up front, that this was all Fire's fault, and I have a written confession to prove it. Some blame also attaches to Angie but I don't have it in writing.

Unfortunately, those are the two players who dropped out, so the campaign is now quite dead. Sigh.

This was my attempt at doing the 'suddenly get powers beyond those of mortal men and slowly discover them' routine, although since the players are all empirically minded, any down time I let them have would undoubtedly have been used to explore and quantify their powers, even without the encouragement of grad students. I never got a chance to find out if it would have worked, since we only had two sessions, and one of the characters never even had her powers manifest.

Apartment Rules

I invented a whole lot of house rules for this campaign, some of them pretty deviant. Since I kept all the superpower writeups to myself, this wasn't a good field test, but I'll record them here for posterity anyway.

The basis from which I am deviating is Champions 4th Edition, plus the ECNG House Rules.


Strength now costs 1.5 per point. Damage for thrown objects is based on 2/3 Strength (ie, as if it were bought Usable At Range [+1/2] to the same number of active points). Endurance cost is 1 per 10 Str, not 1 per 1 active points. Everything else is unchanged, except for being always calculated from points of Strength, not active points (but see below for changes to leaping).

1 per point is just way too cheap, especially when you consider the 1.1 points worth of figured characteristics. I calculated out what it would cost to buy everything you get from 50 points of Strength, and it was over 170 points. I have nothing against bricks, but that seems like just a bit much of a point break. Even Elemental Controls only give you twice as much as you pay for. I tried setting the cost of Strength at 2, but was overwhelmed by player protests. Maybe next time.

Speed Doubling

Speed is now 2+Dex/5 and costs 5 per point; that is, twice whatever your speed would have been under the book rules. Since no one is over Spd 12, we still use the regular phase chart but add a free recovery after segement 6. Should someone go over Spd 12 (which seems unlikely at this point), I have a 24-phase chart I can whip out at a moment's notice (with recoveries after segements 12 and 24).

To keep the correspondance between phases and clock time the same, each turn is now 24 seconds long, and each segment of the 12-phase chart is 2 seconds.

The primary effect of this is to provide more possible values for Spd within the human range, since characters can buy to what would before have been half-points of Spd (new Spd 5 = old Spd 2.5, etc).

Killing Damage

Killing attacks are now rolled the same as normal damage: 1d6 per DC, Stun and Body counted as usual. Killing Body is resisted only by resistant defenses; Killing Stun is resisted by resistant defenses plus up to an equal amount of nonresistant defenses. Knockback is Body - 3d6". The cost is still 5 per DC.

I don't like the Stun Lottery, so rather than invent yet another mechanic to patch it, I fell back on an existing mechanic. Although the cost per DC is the same as in the book rules, the fact that it costs the same as normal damage but goes against more limited defenses suggests that killing attacks are too cheap, and that a +1/4 or +1/2 advantage should be needed to make damage killing instead of normal. I have not yet implemented this, however.

Hand Attack

Hand Attack now costs 5 points, and Strength adds to it the same way it adds to HKA.

HA should cost the same as EB for the same reason HKA and RKA cost the same: Usable at Range and Strength Adds are both +1/2 advantages. Or something like that.


Movement is bought on a per-turn rather than per-phase basis: total inches per turn are divided as evenly as possible among the character's phases. The cost per turn is 1/4 that of the book cost: 1/2" for most movement, 1/4" for Superleap, Gliding, and Swimming. Base Running and Swimming are now 24"/turn and 8"/turn respectively. Base leaping is Str/5*4" per turn.

Noncombat acceleration *adds* four times the character's combat move to their velocity each turn. Someone with 16x noncombat movement thus takes 4 turns (96 seconds) to reach full velocity.


The maximum distance a character can leap is 1/4 their per-turn leaping; if this is more than one phase worth of movement, it takes as many phases as it would take to travel that far (round fractions up to the next half phase). The character is considered to be spending the first and last half-phases of this period taking off and landing, but may act on phases spent in the air, albeit at half OCV and half DCV.

This applies to Swinging as well, should anyone actually buy it.


Because Teleport is an instant power, the usual 'half phase to half move, full phase to full move' mechanic does not quite apply. Teleporting any distance up to the maximum is a half-phase action, but will leave the character at half CV against new opponents at her new location until she takes a half phase to clue in. If teleporting to a destination within line of sight, the half phase can be spent before moving, but the character will still be 1/2 CV against any opponents she couldn't see from her origin. Just teleporting around behind someone will generally not incure this penalty, and teleporting up to someone and whacking them allows full CV against that person, provided the target was declared in advance of the teleport. Attempting to teleport twice in one phase makes the destination of the second teleport GM's option (if it's allowed at all), and will certainly put the character at half CV if she's still in the fight afterwards.

Speed is already useful enough without it multiplying movement as well, and figuring velocity as inches per phase when a phase can be anything from 1 to 12 seconds is just plain wrong. This new scheme does add the overhead of dividing movement per turn over some variable number of phases, but I figure most players are smart enough to buy their movement to a number that divides evenly.

Power Frameworks

Elemental Controls

There is no such thing as an Elemental control.

Possibly this is a bit harsh, since Str is still underpriced. But after writing up the PCs' powers, it turned out that all of the ones with ECs saved 30+/- 3 points, so I just gave them all the 30 extra points and ditched EC.


No change currently.

Multipowers might be too cheap for getting a wide variety of attacks or other powers that couldn't be used simultaneously anyway, but seem to be right for powers that could be used simultaneously (defenses and movement). Possibly powers in the former category should cost more per slot, but I have to think about it a lot more.

Variable Power Pools

I look so dubious.

Although there are undoubtedly conceptions that require more flexibility than a multipower, I'm not convinced that they make valid characters, nor that VPPs are the way to implement them. But I don't have any better ideas.

Combat Manuevers

Martial Arts

Instead of having special Martial Arts maneuvers that cost more points but give effects that would cost tens of points to buy straight, there are only a limited set of maneuvers, which are available to everyone, and a few modifiers. Ordinary martial arts expertise should be bought as levels in the appropriate maneuvers; extraordinary effects such as NND damage, killing damage, and extra Str for limited applications should be bought normally.

The combat maneuvers available are all the standard ones, minus Haymaker, plus Throw (-1 OCV, -1 DCV, does Str damage or velocity damage - 2DC, opponent falls). There are also some modifiers that can be applied to any of the base maneuvers if common sense allows:

Maneuver OCV DCV Effect
Flying X -2 -2 May act after full move
All-out X -1 -1 +2 DC
Defensive X -2 +2  
Offensive X +2 -2  
Sacrifice X +2 -1 You fall
Precision X +2 +0 -2 DC

Which maneuvers may be modified, whether multiple modifiers may be used, and whether any of these apply to anything except normal hand-to-hand attacks must all be decided by the GM for the specific situation. It is unlikely that anyone will come up with a good excuse for applying any of these modifiers to Dodge, however.

The GM may wish to require characters to cough up 2 points for Weapon Familiarity: Martial Arts to be able to use the modifiers without incurring the -3 OCV non-familiarity penalty, or perhaps even one point per modifier. I am not initially doing so, however.

The Martial Arts maneuvers might be appropriate to heroic campaigns, but are too cheap and redundant in a superheroic campaign. I dislike them in general for too closely conflating special effect and game mechanic.

Throw and the modifiers were designed by misapplying the Ninja Hero martial arts maneuver design system to create 0-point maneuvers.

Movethroughs & Movebys

The damage inflicted by a move-through is the greater of the character's regular hand-to-hand damage or collision damage for their velocity. If these two quantities are within one 1 DC of each other, add 1/2 DC to total; if they are equal, add 1 DC. Damage is of the same type as the character's hand-to-hand damage; reduce the dice in proportion to any advantages on the attack, as usual.

Move-throughs and move-bys are at -1 OCV, -2 DCV. At the GM's option, a move-by that only hits exactly may turn into a move-through.

If the character performing the move-through does 0" or more of knockback to the target, they damage they take is equal to the difference in DCs between their hand-to-hand damage and their move-through damage. This will probably be normal physical damage, but might be something else depending on the nature of the target. If hand-to-hand damage predominated in the move-through damage calculation, then the attacker takes no damage: this degenerate case is equivalent to a Flying Strike.

If the character performing the move-through fails to do any knockback, they take full collision damage. As above, this is usually normal physical damage, but might be something else depending on the nature of the target.

Movebys are handled the same, except that the final damage is reduced by 2 DC (which of course reduces the damage inflicted on the attacker by 2 DC as well).

Yah, I know taking the difference of two damages as a damage is wrong and not log-scaled. But it's easy and conveys approximately the right idea.

Collision Damage

Collision damage, like other damage from not-completely-made-up sources, goes as the log of the energy, which is to say as the log of velocity squared (or twice the log of velocity). Taking 1m/s as exactly 0d6 of damage, the curve of velocity vs damage is


The damage each object in a collision inflicts on the other is the base damage for their relative velocity, -1d6 if it's "squishy" (no resistant PD with a rigid special effect), +1d6 for each doubling of mass above standard or -1d6 for each having below.

Log scale, dammit. Also it's nice to not have 30d6 (more than twice most campaign damage limits) lying about to be used by anyone with 15 Str TK.

Falling Damage

Falling damage is based on the faller's velocity at the time of impact, just as collision damage is. Reduce damage by -1d6 for a somewhat squishy surface, by more at GM's option for a very squishy surface (or perhaps divide the total damage into several smaller attacks). Increase damage by +1d6 for each doubling of mass above human; -1d6 for each halving below.

Damage Time

Terminal velocity for a human body at 1 gravity and 1 atmosphere is 36"/sec (12d6). This moves one line down the chart for every level of Density Increase or 3 levels (15 points) of Growth, and up one line for every level of Shrinking. For unearthly environments, divide terminal velocity by the atmospheric pressure in Atm, and multiply it by the square root of the gravity in g.

This file was last modified at 1635 on 22Jun99 by