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Dan's Motivation


I couldn't get various super powers out of my head one day, while procrastinating at work, so later that day I went and bought a copy of HU™ 2nd Edition. I played the 1st edition way back around 1987. All in all, having played nearly every Palladium® RPG created before 1994, I think this is a pretty good revision.

There are a few things I would have worked out more precisely, and a few obvious extensions I would have liked to see. I'm going to list random improvements and additions that I think of, and hopefully can help make a great game better for anyone that reads this. I should point out that I don't game anymore, and really don't have much interest in starting any new campaigns. This is just something to keep me entertained.

A few of the changes/additions I propose are either more needed or just better than the others. The things on this page I recommend most have been linked on the main index using green text. If you're only going to look at a few things here, check those out first!

This page is a work in progress- As I think of things to add I will do so. There are dozens of problems within the Palladium® system that I think could be fixed with a creative rewrite by someone with a science background and nitpicker's attention to detail. Eventually I'll get to them all....

Coming Attractions:

My Guiding Principles in Character Generation and Game Development

I have always gotten a lot of enjoyment out of character generation, but I think my favorite passtime in RPG settings has been testing, bending, and breaking the rules. Both of these activities are best enjoyed, I believe, when they are motivated by logical conclusions and extrapolations that the game system's creators might not have conceived of. In my case, having a relatively firm grasp of the physics and mathematics of modern life, I like to aim my corrections and extrapolations towards reconciliation of the gaming rules and the physical laws of the universe. Through no fault of the gamers there have been a lot of inconsistencies written into the Palladium system; I feel drawn to correcting these problems.

When I develop new game rules or correct the existing set I have usually been motivated by an inconsistency with reality. Some are easily accessible to players without math background, like my criticism of melee round duration, but others might require more familiarity with basic physics concepts, like the power stunt I developed involving changes in mass and velocity. I think this latter example is a good representative of what I strive for in developing new rules: basic physics and algebra results in devastating effects for a large percentage of SPBs. Game balance is valuable, but is it so valuable as to overpower reality? Some powers have physical implications, like Growth, that should create unbelievably powerful characters, but have been selectively edited to preserve game balance. I have no problem with balance, but if a GM doesn't like the consequences of a certain power he can just ban its use in his campaigns. Ignoring the logical implications of a character's powers is like plugging your fingers into your ears and shouting, hoping to drown out anything you don't agree with. It dampens the player's dependence on creativity in favor of cookie cutter super abilities and solutions.

In creating characters I try to make all of their powers self-consistent. The Palladium system seems hooked on providing Random Ability, Insanity, and Encounter tables, but I think randomness sacrifices game integrity. It may be fun to roll up crazy power combinations, but aren't the goals of the RPG system better suited when the characters are well planned? Instead of giving my characters random abilities that make them powerhouses, I like to give them combinations of related powers that make physical sense. Why would a character with Plant Control also have the power to Control Force Fields? This isn't a rule so much as a guideline; combinations of powers seem more "real" when they come from a conceivably common source. As an example, check out Wraith, a character I developed when I thought of a conceivable common source for Intangibility and Invincibility.

In the end, gaming should be about fun and not rules debates, but I think it's more fun to use your brain and make a consistent, believable character with consistent, believable powers from the beginning, and let the game scenario balance itself to the character's power levels. Playing in a fantastic setting doesn't mean one has to let go of their logical capacities, especially when their characters are expected to flex logical muscles within the game.

My Motives for creating and posting character stats:

I bought the Century Station book, hoping to get some examples of SPBs to work from, and make sure I wasn't reinventing the wheel. I was enthusiatic while reading the intro of the book, but once I got into the actual Character stats I was really disappointed. The Centurions are really boring! Apex is pretty cool, but Haven is a massive cheat. I went through the stats, and I'm pretty sure the writer just automatically gave maximum rolls for PS bonuses. My pet peeve.... Spartacus is nothing new. I haven't read Skraypers, but it seems like they just gave Alpha Prime any power that sounded good. Six or seven Major powers (3-4 misplaced as Minor), plus about ten Minor powers!?! Fly at Light Speed is a Minor Power?!? Maybe I missed something, but Control Static Electricity is explicitly labeled a Major Power in HU2. Iron Lotus and Leviathan are pretty cool, but they seem like the members thrown on at the end that really have their own thing going on. The rest of the characters in the book go back and forth between being over-powerful and unoriginal, with a few exceptions. I like the Green Man, but not as a part of that villain team....

I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by insulting my audience, but I've seen precious little posted on the net by anyone else that makes for an interesting team. A lot of them are pretty good, but most aren't even as good as the Centurions. This book has a lot of really cool possibilities- It's not that hard to make cool players. It's definitely not hard to make characters that can beat up most of the ones I've seen. I suppose if someone thinks of a really cool one, though, they become a comic book writer and sell it. As I make more characters that I think are interesting I'll add them to the Character Stats Page. Let me know what you think; I'll make a deal with you. If you send me honest criticism without being unpleasant I will do the same for whatever you post.