Sunday, December 2, 2012

3 Book Campaign: Champions Complete + San Angelo + Champions Villains

Inspired by the classic triumvirate of PHB, DMG, and MM, I decided to see if I could put together RPG campaigns using only three books at a time (for reasons I'll elaborate on later, maybe).

So here's my first batch of three:

  • Champions Complete
  • Champions Villains: Volume Three -- Solo Villains
  • San Angelo

Champions Complete

Rationale -- it's a complete RPG in about 400 pages. Concisely written, cleanly presented, and logically organized, this brings Champions back to the days when the Big Blue Book (4th Edition) held sway. It is the 6th Edition ruleset, and is therefore compatible with the last batch of 6th Edition products, but is a heck of a lot easier to carry around if you've got the printed version. If not, it's a sight less pages to search through electronically on your digital reader.

It also takes care of all the necessary rules right away in one book, leaving the other two slots open for setting and opposition respectively. There are also ready-to-play PCs as part of the book, which is great if you want to get started playing right away.

Champions Villains: Volume Three -- Solo Villains

Rationale -- well, you need supervillains to oppose the PCs right? I would have gone for Volume Two, which has the supervillain teams, if it weren't for the idea of the campaign: relatively new superheroes -- probably two to three at most -- learning the ropes in their chosen city. They're not going for the costumes and the spandex right away, but it should head in that direction eventually -- albeit with more of a pulp feel (their costumes should make practical sense, in addition to psychological advantages). I'm also going for the feel of a villain of the week that's interwoven with the PC's trying to juggle their daily lives with fighting crime. If necessary, I'll beef up the villain and his non-metahuman support group to make them a bit more of a challenge for the superteam.

San Angelo: City of Heroes

Now, the copy I have is for an older edition of Champions / HERO. The one available from RPGNow is actually for M&M and Action!System. As far as I'm concerned, however, it doesn't really matter because the setting is what I'm after. As superhero city supplements go, this one feels so fleshed out that you find yourself drawing linkages between the NPCs in the city and realizing how interconnected their lives (and hopefully the lives of your PCs) really are. There is character and community feel aplenty in this sourcebook by Patrick Sweeney and Mark Arsenault, and I've always wanted to return to it campaign-wise to set PCs into a fictitious American city (it's not the one in Texas) in the grand tradition of comics.

Campaign Concept

For me, this would be a return to the pulp era of adventurer-crimefighters, but at the power level of low-end superheroes. This would be beginning Daredevil and Batman and Iron Fist and Manhunter taking on crime in the city. They would spend 1/3 to 1/2 of their time in their non-masked identities, and they would need to know their city well in order to successfully battle their criminals.

I'd require at least two NPCs selected from the San Angelo sourcebook, and allow one or more NPCs to be created by the Players -- but these would also have to be tied somehow to an institution or NPC in the book. I want players to feel that the city itself is as dominant a character as any of their opponents or supporting cast, much in the way Metropolis and Gotham feel in the comics.


  1. I've been disconnected from Hero System (and Champions) for a bit, but I've always had a certain fondness for it.

  2. @Trey: Yes, I know the feeling. I think it's easier to stay connected if others share your interest in it. I think it appeals to the character creator mentality and to the supers genre fiends.

    It helps if you're not afraid of basic math too.


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.