Editor’s Note #39

Fresh off the presses http://theletterspage.libsyn.com/editors-note-39


Upcoming Schedule:

  • Tuesday, March 3rd: Episode #136 - Creative Process: Naturalist supporting cast
  • Tuesday, March 10th: Episode #137 - Writer's Room: Chrono-Ranger in Feudal Japan
  • Tuesday, March 17th: Episode #138 - Writer's Room: Hero/Villain team-up
  • Tuesday, March 24th: Editor’s Note #40
  • Tuesday, March 31st: Episode #139 - Creative Process: Absolute Zero’s villains

Recording Schedule:

  • Thursday, March 5th: Episode #138 - Writer's Room: Hero/Villain team-up
  • Friday, March 20th: Editor’s Note #40
  • Friday, March 27th: Episode #139 - Creative Process: Absolute Zero’s villains

I made an exclamation aloud at "She loves the god, not the man."

Like, can we just stop to think about how charged a statement that is? Like, dang! Is it just me? Love it.

so happy my question lead to something good. re-listening after sending this one in I heard the episode where they first said she did not care about Blake

YAY! Christopher and Adam were reading MY LETTER to me in this one :D First time it's happened ^_^

Just happened to re-listen to this one today and there’s a question about the RPG at about 35:00 in. The writer asked about stacking multiple upgrades on a single villain to make an extra-buff baddie, one specific example being layering Power Dampening, Calming Aura and Brainwashing Field together and if knocking a hero into Red Health would leave all their Power and Quality dice at d4 and limit them to Green abilities.

That’s wrong owing to a mis-read of Power Dampening and Brainwashing, neither of which care about your personal GYRO zone. They both look at the scene tracker zone, so the cumulative effect wouldn’t be quite as bad as the question make sit out to be. Still bad, and if all three upgrades were still unsolved when the scene hit Red then yeah, d4s all around and Green zone abilities only, but if things have gotten to that point the heroes are probably doomed anyway and a GM should probably just handwave the defeat and move on.

C&A both caution about using multiple upgrades and Adam specifically notes that combination (or multiple Defense Shields, etc.) would be something to explain to the players in advance. I’ve used multi-upgrade villains a few times and what they said about using them very sparingly as “end-boss encounters” that can reasonably take up most of a session to deal with a single scene is accurate. They’re very niche but can be an interesting challenge to a coordinated team. If you don’t want defeating them to be the focal point of a session (and maybe a whole story arc) it’s probably better to use them as a background “powerful entity” element that takes actions using the guidelines for environmental twists.

Balancing them is tricky but from what I’ve seen cumulative upgrades like the shield/field/zone/aura ones that require Overcomes to negate impact a scene as much as a whole difficult element each - they’re effectively a whole standalone challenge nailed to a powerful villain. Upgrades that just improve die sizes are less impactful despite the large Health bonus they offer, and the two minion-related ones that cost the villain actions are actually quite inefficient for end-boss types. Villainous vehicles are variable based on what abilities they take and how fast they get wrecked, but can easily compare with the “shield” upgrades for impact when used with a villain who coincidentally makes them harder to destroy - like by having Calming Aura or a strong Defend-an-ally reaction.

Building up to an “Ultimate Menace” fight over several scenes (or issues) is probably a good idea. Have the heroes fight their flunkies and lesser villain allies first, then show up as a “powerful entity” type while they’re trying to foil the next step in whatever scheme is going on, and eventually have them confront the Biggest Bad as multi-upgrade villain who can actually be taken down if they’re good enough.

Of course, if your team has a lot of collections available even the Biggest Bad can get steamrollered pretty easily, so keep that in mind.