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Make them Superheroes?

   
Make them Superheroes?

If you're being frustrated over on Giantitp with a half-orc who won't stop running away in an abandoned fishing warehouse, stay out of this thread.

So, I'm running a PbP of Curse of the Crimson Throne over on the Order of the Stick forums. Making a bunch of modifications to flow a little better, more focused on Korvosa, and deal with the fact that I have seven players. Now, we were going through the opening sequences of the Adventure Paths, and one of my players commented out of character that 'this feels like a superhero origin story'.

And it's been a couple of weeks and I can't get the idea out of my head. The current encounter is, in my version, supposed to end with a trapped explosion of an unstable new magic drug the main villain is working on, which would be the perfect opportunity to infuse them with magic and give them superpowers. It just...wasn't part of the original pitch. So, my questions are as follows:

1. If you were a player in the above scenario, and suddenly explosion, fall into river, claw way to shore, DM says 'you all are Gestalt now!' or something similar, would you be upset at all? This is my primary concern, as I really like the concept, but I know springing a pretty major mechanical change on players with no warning at all could be jarring, at the least.
2. Anyone with experience running something like this? I have my ideas on how I would handle superpowers, but I would love to hear stories about similar plotlines in D&D/Pathfinder games.
3. If YOU were compiling a list of things in Pathfinder that felt like superpowers, what would you put on there? Again, I have my list, but I'm curious if I missed anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by THEChanger View Post
1. If you were a player in the above scenario, and suddenly explosion, fall into river, claw way to shore, DM says 'you all are Gestalt now!' or something similar, would you be upset at all? This is my primary concern, as I really like the concept, but I know springing a pretty major mechanical change on players with no warning at all could be jarring, at the least.
Yes, I would be. I don't like Gestalt, so if this happened, I would feel like I got bait and switched.

I would think becoming Mythic would be a more easily-digestible outcome, since it's included in those rules that people can "ascend" to that status in the middle of a game and you wouldn't have to backtrack to recalculate earlier levels. And it definitely would qualify as super-powers, compared even to other adventurers.

Also, it wouldn't bother me either way. But then I don't mind Gestalt, or Mythic for that matter.

It might be an idea to float the concept as something which can be only temporary if the players like, and permanent only if people feel that it's a good idea which is working out in play. The characters don't know if the powers will fade or not.

From a superhero genre perspective, that's not uninteresting, at least not to me. Superhero stories are all about the idea that you, and only you, have the capacity to stop X, so do you step up or not, and at what cost? Adding an element of time-pressure (uncertain, but still there) heightens that nicely - you may only be able to do these amazing things for one day, one week, or one month, so what do you do with them in the time that you have?

When I'm thinking about introducing twists like this, I usually just talk openly with my players about it. In PbP context, it's slow enough that you can say immediately after the explosion/encounter, "Hey, I was thinking about what you said, and it might make for a fun story and a fun game. Would you guys want to make this Gestalt or Mythic?" If you're willing to do it and think it'd be fun, and if *they're* willing to do it and think it'd be fun, why not? But springing it on the players might make things difficult.

Mythic seems like the better idea with regard to those concerns, because it's much more of a "DM fiat" thing and it's even suggested that it might be a temporary thing. Gestalt pretty much requires completely rebuilding your character from the ground up, whereas Mythic you can tack on, then tack back off again. Even if you're a player who doesn't like it, that's far more amenable; it's like having a single musical episode without having to commit to altering completely the kind of game you're running.

It also seems like it fits the premise better. Would it make sense for an influx of magical energy to make me suddenly into a great pickpocket as well as a pro fighter? Or to teach my Wizard to use a greatsword? Mythic is much more superhero-like.

I hate to say that it depends on what you sold the campaign to be, but that's kind of the important part here. I realize you probably posted an ad for a Pathfinder AP and the floodgates opened, but did you suggest in any way that your pre-campaign tweaks were going to drastically change power level or vibe of the AP? I think if you did, you have far more authority now to add this as well. If you put together a game, then adjusted to the 7 players or the group dynamic on the fly, I'd defintely float this past the group beforehand.

Here's why:

Some people just don't like games that get too powerful. I realize we're talking about a game that creeps pretty easily/quickly but many players contain themselves within the realm of what's comfortable for the table, campaign, teammates, etc. I.E. I play in a game where at least two of us could tweak out our characters to be ridiculously powerful, but we don't because the other player couldn't. Also, that's not the type of game I personally want to play. Also (that's a second also for those keeping track), I know that the GM is going to give out gifts during the course of the game anyways, so we'll be able to play rocket-tag eventually anyways.

tl;dr

It sounds like you've set up some customization for this campaign initially anyways, so proposing Mythic isn't completely out of left field. However, I would have the players vote secretly, and if even 2 or 3 of them are hesitant... drop it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by THEChanger View Post
1. If you were a player in the above scenario, and suddenly explosion, fall into river, claw way to shore, DM says 'you all are Gestalt now!' or something similar, would you be upset at all? This is my primary concern, as I really like the concept, but I know springing a pretty major mechanical change on players with no warning at all could be jarring, at the least.
Sudden change of that magnitude can be jarring and hurt the game. It can also be AWESOME... if its the sort of thing your players are into.

Me? I love gestalt, if a mundane campaign suddenly went gestalt I'd be all for it. But not everybody likes that variant.





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