Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Nostalgia: Champions

Champions 4th Edition or the "Big Blue Book" was the first Role Playing Game I ever played Game Mastered. I remember seeing it for the first time at our local Walden Books, the fact that it had a George Perez cover is what drew me to it.

I won't lie, it was quite a complex system for a new player, but I had no idea how complex. It was like learning a new language. Some members of our group had been playing for a while so they were better prepared to understand it and did their best to help me understand it.

For years after, it was hard to transition from Champions/HERO where you could literally build anything to games that were often more about what you could not do and focused on empowering the Game Master to make rulings, not rules.

The person that taught me Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition was a very strict Dungeon Master. I didn't really understand most of the essential parts of ADnD until I discovered the OSR because of his style of DMing.

I remember dreaming up character concepts and villains for hours and hours on end (it's hard to believe I had the time to do that).

When HERO 5th Edition released we went all-in on it and my best friend and I had a pretty satisfying campaign that spanned a year or two.

I looked at HERO 6th Edition, but it wasn't for me.

I'm curious how Champions Now will turn out.

While I have moved toward simpler game systems, part of me has been daydreaming about Champions. I have some players in my current group that I think would enjoy it's customizations and would probably end up understanding it better than I do.

While I look back on the (mis)adventures of Captain Midnight, Killroy, The Fall Guy, Scythe, Shadow Hunter, and Bearcat -- the Regulators fondly, I don't know if I have that kind of time these days. Our sessions are 2-3 hours and some of our combats lasted that long. For the uninitiated, when you deal damage in Champions/HERO you have to read the d6s you roll in two different ways: sum the dice for damage in Stun, take the number of d6s you rolled and subtract one for 1 and add one for each 2, that is how much Body you do, then you take that number and roll 2d6 which is then subtracted and determines how far your opponent is Knocked Back.

Truthfully, we probably argued about rules as much as we played. I remember that one of the characters, Killroy who was based on DC Comic's Lobo, senselessly murdered two innocents and we spent longer debating how to handle his actions than we played that night and we didn't even reach a consensus! I was 19 or 20 then and we would start playing at 5 or 6pm on a Friday or Saturday night and go into the wee hours of the morning.
You couldn't pay me to have a session last that long these days.

To this day, I don't know that any other Super Hero RPG is as complete a toolkit as the HERO system is.

Who knows? Maybe I'll take Champions out for a spin later this year, show these new guys the system I cut my teeth on.

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