Disavowed House Rules

Posted 6/27/04 - changes in italic and red from the X-Champions rules you're probably used to; where those rules have been eliminated, they've been left in this posting but struck through so that way you can see which X-Champions-specific rules no longer apply


Introduction

Let's start by admitting I'm still a 3rd edition rule fan.  And in the past I've run some heavily bastardized rules owing to all sorts of my own crazy notions.  In any case I will be running this game, to most people's relief, based heavily on the 5th edition.   There are a few old-fashioned things, though, as well as some new things.  I have attempted to identify all major 5th edition changes and account for them herein - generally if you don't see anything contradictory, they are available as stated in the book.  However, given the number and fine grain of the changes from 4th to 5th, I easily may have missed something significant.  Please raise any questions as you encounter 5th edition changes that are not specifically addressed below (either contravened or "tweaked") but seem "wrong" to you - chances are I didn't notice.  Please also note there are brand new rules not reflected in 5th or prior editions!

Before you start, though, please note that you can get files to run this as a template in Creator!  Please collect x-champions.zip which includes x-champions.cds, x-champions.cst, x-champions.inc, and X-champions.prt.  You will need these in your Creator folder.  After copying them there, launch Creator, and you should be able to create a new super using X-Champions as the template.  These have not been updated for 5th edition yet.

Version 2 x-champions files can be found here.  Now if you select a Martial Arts Package (any preexisting one or "Create Your Own"), but NOT a Martial Arts maneuver by itself, IT WILL COST APPROPRIATELY.  PLEASE NOTE - there is, as far as I can tell, a bug in the way version 2 handles automatically recalculating.  If you delete ALL of the those items in a Martial Arts Package that are granted with it OR if you select "Create Your Own" it will *NOT* recost automatically as you change strength.  You have to either open and close an item in the list or hit recalc from the menu.   These have not been updated for 5th edition yet.

HeroDesigner 5th Edition files are now available.  It is undecided whether I will retrofit Metacreator.  You need the Prefab for Skill Enhancers and groupings of skills for those, the Campaign Rules file, and (most importantly) the TemplateYou'll want to create a "new character based on template" and point to the X-Champions template, or just load the template.  The Prefab is less important if you don't use the new skill enhancers, it is loaded as normal, by "load prefab".  The Campaign Rules file is highly desirable, load it through the HeroDesigner interface as well with the "load campaign rules" functionality.   It should function now so that "load from template" pulls up house rules and prefabs.

Characters will be based on (55-75)+(15-35) points.  You may take these in any combination such that the total of the two does not exceed 90.  To create a reward for those taking more disads, each 5 points in disads will grant +1 to your "I Need a Break" modifier (see below).

Characters should be just a bit extraordinary, more along the lines of unusually gifted secret agents or light mystics or that sort of thing.  Powers should be rare and more often (but not necessarily) along the lines of "big Talents".  You do not have to pay for real world weapons or organizational ties or headquarters or that sort of thing; those will come along with the game.  Thugs and regular bad guys will be just normal, more serious standard opponents will be in the range of 5-8 DCV and around 20 DEF for the most protected (8-12 being average).  Of course a few special bad guys will be above those marks.  

Characters should come from varied backgrounds, you are encouraged to pick people with no formal military or spy or coven background.  "Ordinary" backgrounds such as celebrities and scientists are encouraged.

WIthout further ado, here we go...


Characteristics

Mental and supernatural powers function somewhat differently.  Every character gets Mental Defense (MD) which is EGO/5 and costs 1 point per each increase of 1.  Characters also get something called Supernatural Defense (SD) which is INT/5.  Yes, this means typically that scientists, inventors, and the like are more resistant to supernatural attacks than the average joe.  It's deliberate.  Supernatural attacks include the power Supernatural Attack and any powers changed with the advantage Supernaturally Based.

More than one figured characteristic may be bought off.


Skills

Please note that generally speaking I double the skill roll modifiers (the negatives).  While this is not new, it was not stated in prior postings of these rules.

Animal Handler is as in 4th edition except that it is a PRE-based skill.

Please note I am adopting the Combat Skill Levels as in 5th edition - this presents considerable opportunity.  Negative skill levels may be used at range, both combat and non-combat alike, though GM discretion will be applied depending upon their application/use (this is known as the Mark Morgan rule, "don't annoy the GM").

You may use the Language Familiarity Chart, and literacy is free for all languages bought.

I run Martial Arts costs a bit differently - okay a lot differently, again just from a points perspective, though they function the same.  Basically, every 5 points of martial arts maneuvers is a +1/4 advantage to STR instead of being worth 5 character points.  Additional damage classes and weapons are paid for normally and do not count as advantages.  The effect of this that Martial Arts are cheaper for characters with STR below 20, the same for those with a 20 STR, and more expensive as you go over 20 STR.  Martial arts are as defined in 5th edition (supplement material such from UMA is generally okay, consult with GM).

Transport Familiarity Categories are Animals, Muscle/Muscle-related (ground and water), Ground, Air (non-space), Space, Water, and anything else is GM discretion.

There are two additional Skill Enhancers.  The first is Driver Skill, which accords a -1 CP for each transport and piloting skill.  The second is Warrior Skill, which accords a -1 CP for all weapon familiarities (individual 1 point weapon familiarities may be bought 2 for 1 but should be in the same group).  Please note that these are implemented via the Prefab for Disavowed.


Perks

The Contact Table is amended as:

Cost Contact
1 Basic 8- Contact
2 Basic 11- Contact
+1 +1 to Contact Roll
+1 Contact has extremely useful Skills or resources
+1 Contact has access to critical institutions - i.e., important federal agencies or similar, not corporations or educational; government bureau chiefs
+2 CIA chief or similar
-1 Contact must take unusual risks to communicate
NA "slavishly loyal" - buy a follower, not a contact
x3 Organizational Contact - this means the entire organization is a contact and not an individual in it; some organizations may not be bought this way
+2 MIB-type operative
+4 MIB-type with responsibility
NA head of MIB-type organization - not possible (GM has to have some secrets!)

The one issue you should be aware of is that federal agencies, particularly of course the covert ones, don't communicate much and so often that creates a source of frustration itself.  Anyone wanting broad and deep knowledge would need to cultivate multiple agency contacts.


Powers

The spirit of 4th edition minimums should be observed.

"Stop" powers are generally okay - we just need to discuss them in some elaborate detail and most likely (like 99%) I'll ask you to take a disad that balances the power out.

Inherent should generally be unnecessary/has no effect.  Please advise if you see a need/requirement.

Adjustment powers have changed significantly.  Drain and Transfer go against SD unless of course otherwise defined by limitations or advantages.  Power Defense has been eliminated as people can easily buy SD up (same rate as the other defenses, 1 point per).  Also note that these power attacks may be used at range with the same rules as Energy Blast and that characters regain points back lost to these attacks at their REC rate.  Dispel and Suppress are the same as they were in 4th ed. (note Suppress is not cumulative by default unlike in 5th edition) except by default they also are counted against SD.  In both cases SD is subtracted from the Dispel/Suppress damage roll.   Any power attack can be converted to go against PD or ED as a -1/2 limitation.   For a +1/2 advantage they may be defined to work as an NND attack.  Basing them on ECV is a normal +1 advantage.

Note that Aid does not necessarily end a turn as an attack does.  So long as aid is performed on anyone compliant or out AND THEY ARE EASY TO REACH it's like practicing a skill, it's a half phase and you can move on. A ranged aid that requires "hitting" a target during combat counts like an attack as you have to aim or coordinate your action with the other person. Technically speaking I'm sure you could make a case that "casual DEX" would allow someone at distance to be "easy to reach" but I'm not going there. But yes this will be subject to interpretation - an area Aid that centers on the caster (as opposed to being cast at a hex) would count as "easy to reach". Of course if someone is resisting (whether by freaking out or actually not wanting Aid) then it takes the same time impact as an attack. Yes I understand this opens the door to the same idea with transforms or other "desired attacks", but I'm holding the line here despite the seeming logical contradictions. Basically the practice of skills opens this door, and given Aid's history I'm willing to keep the door open this crack.

Mental powers by default work on any sentient mind, they do not need to be bought by class of being as in 5th edition.  However, they work only to the extent that communication is possible (which is always how I have interpreted it).  Selecting animals or aliens as the only class of mind affected would be a limitation.  The first break-out roll takes place at the beginning of the character's first phase, as in 5th edition.

"Eye contact required" is -3/4.

Size and density powers may be bought with 0 END or similar and remain on.

Disadvantage points are not included when calculating multiform, duplication, and similar power costs.

Aid functions as in 4th edition.

A +1 advantage may be applied to Damage Reduction allowing it to be applied first to an incoming attack, before applying other defenses.  This is a "stop" ability though, so please consult in detail on this.

Duplication as stated in 5th edition is allowed despite controversy.  Note rules on the altering of duplicates as an advantage and gaining experience in 5th.  On a more general note, given how followers and similar entities interact, I have attempted to follow the standardization of 1 CP per 5 points and doubling of additional/other beings in general.  Just as with followers, it simply should not be abused.

The Detect sense is fine as stated in 5th edition; at each stated level in the Detect Table, the effect is assumed to be discriminatory, i.e., some level of articulation of the object is possible.  If the effect is intended to be non-discriminatory, i.e., something is or is not there, then the cost may be moved one level down.   In other words, to detect a large class of things and for it to be non-discriminatory costs only 5 points.  Thus at this writing, for example, Sihn's "Detect Mutants" device is for a class of things but is non-discriminatory and thus remains 3 points.

After tortuous consideration, I am adopting the 5th edition Flash.  I've decided this is less broken than the old way.  But perhaps only slightly.

Hand-to-Hand strike from 4th edition (3 points per 1d6) remains.

Healing continues to be constructed as 4th edition normal Aid.

Life Support may remain as in 4th edition but new/individual items from 5th edition may be selected.  The bottom line is that 30 points may still provide complete Life Support.

Prior to 5th, I allowed higher levels of luck than 3d6, however, the cost doubles for each next set of 3 dice, such that 4d6-6d6 of Luck cost 10 points each, 7d6-9d6 cost 15 points each, etc..  This unwritten house rule (never applied to PCs in past) is now in force and allowed.

After having gone back and forth on it, I will embrace the consistency aforementioned in the Duplication section and allow Multiform as in the 5th edition.  

Regeneration is alive and well as per 4th edition.

Shape Shift mostly functions as in 4th edition; I didn't care for the minutiae in sensing rules either in spirit or in practice.  However, the 5th edition Adders are valid.  

I have never played Summon such that characters summoned were automatically aggressive or necessarily out of control.  That does not mean they were automatically friendly, either.  They are just the way one might expect, depending on what they are, and that is all.  The 5th edition Summon is fine.  I have an additional +1/2 Advantage for "Exit at Will"; this allows the character Summoning to get rid of the being(s) at will.

Transform attacks are also now allowed as ranged attacks (in the same fashion as Energy Blast) and they go against SD as well (unless of course otherwise defined by power limitations or advantages).  Again, converting these attacks to go against PD or ED is a +1/2 limitation and to be NND-based is a +1/2 advantage.  It should be noted that I always allow victims of transformations to get the benefit of their full numbers of points.  This means that someone turned into an inanimate object usually gets all their points shifted to defense.  Or someone transformed into a frog who already has super-speed will find themselves an extremely speedy frog, even if he's truly a frog in terms of intelligence.  This may be amended according to the special characteristics of the victim.  For example, a fire elemental turned into a fireball may find his powers enhanced rather than being trapped in a fireball form.  Or a person who communicates with animals when transformed into an animal may still have this ability, despite the transforming person's desires.  The 5th edition references to "Body, Mind, and Spirit" may be ignored; however players are welcome to draw upon these ideas for inspiration.  Finally, and more importantly, Transforms only require 1xBOD in order to succeed.  

Falling Attack has been reworked in the spirit of reusing existing constructs.

Here's the currently available additional powers:

    Falling Attack
    Find Character Weakness (different from and additional to the Find Weakness power)
    Invulnerability  
    Pseudo-Death
    Staredown
    Supernatural Attack  


Advantages

Not previously mentioned, but Autofire has always been frowned upon.

Damage Shield does not require an additional +1/4 advantage to do damage with HTH (notably, though, the 5th edition rules probably express the intent of 4th upon rereading that edition).

If Does Body is allowed at all, expect it at +2 or +3.

Megascale will normally be challenged as to why it would not be modeled with additional range or area as per the 4th edition rules.  However, it will be entertained with appropriate rationales, particularly less harmful/more colorful ones.

Penetrating attacks are affected by Damage Reduction.

And, related to Supernatural Attack, an advantage called Supernaturally Based.


Limitations

Noted where Gestures at its base is actually -1/4 unless it requires both hands or is complex.  I'm going to let that stand.  The implication is that you can do both hands at -1/4 but I'm assuming it's subtle.


Frameworks

For completeness the below framework rules have been left in, however, ECs and VPPs will not generally be allowed.  Small MPs are generally going to be okay.

Adjustment powers against a power in an Elemental Control do not necessarily work against all powers in the EC.  There is no specific END requirement although consistency among the powers is desirable.  To the extent the GM allows Multiple Power Attacks (see below), powers in an EC may be combined up to twice the EC control cost.  Power Skill may be bought at one time for up to 3 powers in an EC at the regular cost of 3 points; if more powers are in the EC and desired to be used with the Power Skill, the base cost for the Power Skill is 5 points.

Elemental Controls also require a countering method or technology along the lines of NNDs, except that for normal people the ability to counter an EC would require not merely keenness of mind and access to something like a Home Depot but also a very cumbersome or otherwise difficult barrier to execution.  The countering method or technology must be defined when the EC is purchased.  The ability to counter the EC may be more limited, restricted in the same fashion as above to only agencies, government or similar organizations; to do so, for each EC slot the amount saved by the EC control cost is reduced by 1/4.  For example, if an EC slot would normally have received 40 points' discount, instead it receives only a 30 point discount.  To restrict the countering of an EC even further to only super-villains or masterminds reduces the EC slot savings by 1/2; following the example, the discount would be 20 points.  This reduction will need to be reflected with a customer adder in HeroDesigner.

It is entirely legal for the active cost of a slot in a Multipower to exceed the base Multipower cost if the advantages driving the active cost beyond the base are applied to both the Multipower control cost and the slot.

Variable Power Pools have more specific rules managing how quickly they may be changed.  More importantly, side effects may occur in combat to changing VPPs.  Check it out...  Additionally, the 5th edition VPP advantages for changing powers in a half or zero phase and no skill roll required were in place before but undocumented.  The effect of no skill roll required by itself means that a character can change out 13 real points to any other sort of power or 25 real points to a similar power without making a skill roll.  For an additional +1/2 these points may be doubled, so for +1.5 a character may switch out 25 real points to a different power or 50 points to a real power, and so on.  The effect of paying +1/2 for a half phase (as opposed to full phase) switching of powers or +1 for a zero phase switching of powers by itself means that the character does not have to concentrate or be at 1/2 DCV, but must make the skill roll.  However, combining the two types of advantages (half phase switch of powers with no skill roll or zero phase switch of powers with no skill roll) means the character may freely shift an unlimited number of points among any powers with no skill roll whatsoever. 

VPPs also require a treatment similar to ECs in terms of being countered.  However, the "base" level is where the countering may be done by agencies, government or similar organizations.  To increase that level to just super-villains and masterminds, it requires a +1/4 advantage on the control cost of the VPP.

The effects of changing VPP powers over a rapid period of time (during combat) MUST have an evolutionary basis as its rationale. In play, as you switch, you need to describe how the powers/effects are shifting. Maybe the creature you summoned now lets loose the Indirect Energy Blast you just swapped to. Maybe you used your Ice Blast to make your Ice Barrier. Please describe as we play. This switching will help limit/define SFX of the powers as we go. +1/4 or -1/4 sorts of limitations and advantages we can just gloss over, that's how strong the SFX may be. This will *NOT* work against you other than limiting flexibility; the point is NOT to make the powers any more vulnerable, rather it is merely to ensure the powers do not shift so radically that the SFX get out of control and can become abusive. This will have a direct impact though on NNDs and Invulnerabilities and the like.

Limitations that are applied to VPPs unrestricted by skill and time requirements generally will count for HALF their value. The GM may on RARE occasion grant exceptions and allow full value limitations- if you think you have a really strong case, bring it up, but be prepared to just move along if the GM's reaction is "no". The reasoning here, of course, is that VPPs are innately easy to change and limitations rarely count as such. Note however this does NOT apply to limitations on the control cost itself.

Regarding defensive and offensive powers and ensuring balance, I'm not making any SPECIFIC rules about what you walk into combat with - so yes, you can make pretty extensive preparations for certain enemies but I won't let you abuse the VPP of course - not that I think any of you would anyway. However, during combat, if you switch an offense to a defense or vice-versa, the power it just became will have a Side Effect or Vulnerability at GM discretion. Nothing serious, just something along the lines of the NND/Elemental bar as discussed above. Well, it may be a little more serious according to the scope of points shifted. This aberration in the new power lasts for as many of the players' phases as the real points shifted divided by 10.

Regarding NNDs and Invulnerabilities and similar bought via VPPs, again I won't restrict explicitly. However, I would appreciate that each of these sorts of particularly SFX-strong powers have some weakness or side effect or such based on the base power of the VPP. Please give it some thought. Doesn't have to be real formal or defined too strictly, but enough so we share an understanding of the types of conditions that would cause issues.


Disadvantages

Normal Character Maxima is required and does not count as a Disadvantage.  The Age Disadvantage may be taken for the non-Normal ages.  Otherwise no special rules for Disadvantages, standard 5th applies.  Please note the NCM costing and capability is included in the Disavowed campaign rules and template from the zip above, be sure to implement both on your system.


Entering Combat

Actions taken in a segment are simultaneous.  This means generally that attacks launched during a segment all strike at about the same time.  A higher DEX character moving in the same segment may not generally knock out another character before that other character gets a chance to strike.  There are many exceptions possible to this, however, according to SFX and peculiarities of combat.  The primary one is that a character who is attempting to make any sort of defensive move (fairly liberally applied), including for another character and especially defensive heroic actions (in particular in attempting to save an innocent's life), may roll against their own DEX.  If they succeed (regardless of their DEX relative to their opponent) their defensive action happens just before the strike and the defense may be applied.  This applies to NPCs as well as PCs, although from a dramatic level has most impact for PCs.  Another exception is the landing of a haymaker, which by definition occurs at the very end of the segment following its initiation. 

You may voluntary reduce your SPD to 1.

Given that this is a low-powered campaign, MPAs will be permitted as described in 5th addition.

END usage is restored to the normal 1 END per 10 Active Points.

Mounts that are paid points for function without requiring skill rolls (unless otherwise bought of course); also they function in the character's phases and according to the character's SPD.  They have no effect (positive or negative) on CV.  But if a character is riding an animal they have not paid points for, the mounted movement and combat rules in 5th edition generally apply.  Even then, expect some hand waving for dramatic purposes.


Fighting

-1/3" - I think you know what I mean.

Blazing Away, Hipshot, Hurry, and Rapid Fire will generally not be allowed.  If any of these are intrinsic to your character concept, I am open to discussion.

STR-based Haymakers work as in 4th edition.  Non-STR-based Haymakers may be executed according to 5th edition.  Again, this all-out or aimed-but-non-defensive strike is genre-correct.  Like most of these 5th edition adaptations, we will of course be monitoring and I am open to discussion.

Somewhat complex rules have been adopted for the now-common practice in the game of bludgeoning one being with another being - check those out.

Knockback is not allowed but knockdown is.

Most of the optional effects of damage are in place, including Wounding, Hit Locations/Placed Shots (modified, see below), Impairing (take special note! - I recommend a Healer in the group!), Disabling, Knockdown (not KB, as mentioned above), and Bleeding.  Please note the "I Need a Break" rules below.

Roll

Location

STUNx

NSTUN

BODYx

Auto Hit

Mod.

High Mod.

Low Mod.

3

Face

x5

x2

x2

-8

-8

-4

--

4

Neck

x5

x2

x2

-8

-7

-3

--

5

Crown

x5

x2

x2

-8

-6

-2

--

6

Hands

x1

x1/2

x1/2

-6

-5

-1

--

7

Lower Arms

x2

x1/2

x1/2

-5

-4

+0

--

8

Upper Arms

x2

x1/2

x1/2

-5

-3

+1

--

9

Shoulders

x3

x1

x1

-5

-2

+2

--

10

Breast

x3

x1

x1

-3

-1

+3

--

11

Ribs

x3

x1

x1

-3

+0

+4

--

12

Stomach

x4

x1.5

x1

-7

+1

+5

--

13

Vitals

x4

x1.5

x2

-8

+2

+6

+9

14

Thighs

x2

x1

x1

-4

+3

--

+10

15

Knees

x2

x1/2

x1/2

-6

+4

--

+11

16

Calves

x2

x1/2

x1/2

-6

+5

--

+12

17

Ankles

x1

x1/2

x1/2

-8

+6

--

+13

18

Feet

x1

x1/2

x1/2

-8

+7

--

+14

Same as normal, except that every time a character attempts a targetable attack, he chooses a specific hit location from the chart. (If he fails to choose, the default is location 11.) If he succeeds by the "Auto Hit" number for that location (the "to hit" mod for targeting that location in the normal rules), then he hits the location he chose. If he succeeds, but not by that number, then he rolls for hit location. His roll is modified by the "Mod" number for the location he targeted, and the result is the actual location hit. What the "Mod" does is center the bell curve on the targeted location. A modified number that is off the chart (less than 3 or greater than 18 for most attacks) is a miss. You aimed too high or low, basically.  Note that it says "modified number", not a natural 3 or 18.

There are no "high shot" or "low shot" maneuvers in this system. For attacks that are inherently high or low (such as a punch or a non-martial kick), use the appropriate column. For punches and the like, roll 2d6 with the "Mod" number; for kicks and such, roll 2d6/2 with the "Mod" (no, not 1d6, we need a distribution curve).  First, it's important to remember that, unlike in the official HERO method, there is no such thing as choosing a "high shot" or "low shot" maneuver in this system. An attacker always aims at a particular location. What the system does is make attacks that are not-quite-dead-on tend to cluster around the location aimed for.

That said, the "High Mod" and "Low Mod" columns on our chart are only used for situations like punching, stabbing with a dagger, kicking, or attacking a mounted opponent, where the attack should not be able to potentially hit all locations.

When a punching-type hit spread is called for, roll 2d6 and add the "High Mod" column modifier for the targeted location (Upper Arms is the default if none is called). That is, of course, if the attacker did not automatically hit his intended location by making his roll by the "Auto Hit" margin for that location.

For kicking-type spreads, roll 2d6 divided by 2 and use the "Low Mod" (with Calves being the default location). This is just as simple to use, but maybe not as intuitive to understand. One might ask, "Why not just roll 1d6?" The answer is that we need a bell curve for the system to operate as intended. One might also observe, "2d6/2 has a result of 1 to 6...how will that hit locations 13 through 18?" The answer is that a target location is always chosen, so there will always be a "Low Mod" number to bring it to that range.

As with a general 3 to 18 hit location attack, a "high" or "low" shot is considered a miss when the modified hit location roll is off the chart. For these kinds of attacks, "off the chart" includes those locations where a double dash appears in the respective "Mod" column.

EXAMPLE:

My hands tied behind my back and desperate, I try for a kick at the brigand holding me at swordpoint...

Since my attack is a non-martial kick, I am restricted to hitting locations 13 through 18.

I (being the typical RPG gamer) go for it and aim for the Vitals.

I roll to hit...Vitals has an "Auto Hit" of -8. I made my to-hit roll, but not by 8...so I have to roll for hit location.

I roll 2d6/2...for a result of 2...apply the "Low Mod" for Vitals (+9)...for a total of 11.

That's a miss...and that's what I get for being greedy, I guess. It could, however have been very different.

I see how this might seem complicated, but it's really not. The system becomes second nature very quickly. I recommend it particularly for games with a lot of swordplay, but it'll work just as well for guns and the like.

For more elaboration on these rules see the thread  http://www.herogames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16085&page=1&pp=15 which this is taken directly from.

Note that this means that Killing Attacks do not have a Stun Multiplier roll.


Determining Damage

Damage is determined as normal in HERO; there is no funky STUN+BOD method.

Normal Death rules apply.


Experience Points

I will be according Experience Points according to my own system, as well as something called Reputation Points.   You may read up on that system and its effects here.   Note the aforementioned "I Need a Break" rules are contained herein.