Emerald Twilight is a Dark Champions game running concurrently with XCOM: Gray Dawn. This page will discuss campaign basics and collect links to recaps and characters.
- 1 The Setting
- 2 Character Creation
- 3 Characters
- 4 Stories
The game is set in Emerald City, in the world of Terra Acerba, which looks a lot like Seattle on the surface, but there always seems to be a little something sinister just around the corner. Crime soars, rain falls and the wealthy stare out their windows at the huddled masses fighting to keep masked criminals from stealing the $10 in their wallets.
When the first masked vigilantes appeared in New York in the early 80s, many thought the world was changing for the better. Thirty years later, few would argue that has been the case. Defenders of justice are few, and criminals enjoy the fruits of police corruption and public apathy.
That is where you come in...
Dark Champions is about mood and theme. While I have some ideas, I want input from you guys about what you want to see and what you dont. I would enjoy seeing moral dilemmas play out in the shape of character conflict and party disagreements, but would you guys like that?
One of the reasons I asked about why characters got involved in vigilantism is I want to know where they stand on justice. Bear in mind that all of you do not need to agree, though if you do, that is fine. Would you shoot a criminal in the back who you believed was on his way to blow up a school? Do you frame someone who you believe got off on a technicality? Where do you stand on Justice vs Law?
Characters who ruthlessly pursue their ideas of justice are excellent for the setting, but all of your characters must have some sense of morality. No remorseless psychopaths. Maybe you struggle with psychopathic tendencies, but you have not yet given in to the beast. Be ready to change or compromise your morals...or stand by them to the bitter end.
What about power? Is the abuse of power, even if within the letter of the law a crime? How do you view those who exploit the weak?
There will be multiple character creation options available. This will be somewhat of an experiment of varying character power levels. I will also steal some equipment guidelines I have heard of others using.
While the actual numbers are important, what really drives this game are motivations. The following questions are required for each character.
What is your origin?
What motivates you to pursue vigilantism/fight crime?
What are your two greatest fears?
What are your two greatest desires?
Nuts and Bolts
Players will have two options for their characters: Heroic and Superheroic. Each of them has unique strengths and weaknesses that I hope to balance, but any thoughts you may have are welcome and encouraged. They are based on the standard templates in Hero 6th Edition.
Characters that are based on the Heroic template will be made on 225 points and have any number of complications (discussed later). They will have Normal Characteristic Maxima standard and receive no points for it. They will also follow Heroic equipment rules, with the modifications suggested in Dark Champions 5th Edition.
What does that mean? These characters do not have to pay character points for equipment, they can acquire it through play or with money. Any equipment gained this way, however, is easy come, easy go. This works like your standard fantasy game. Characters will start with a predefined amount of equipment which will be called 'the armory', which is equal to 1.5 times the amount of their equipment allocation (carried). Characters will be able to carry with them a standard amount of equipment, starting at 60 points, but this can be modified with character points.
In general, the only equipment you can have is that which is readily available at the store. If you want better stuff, you have to pay points for that as discussed in Dark Champions. There are three levels of this Perk (3, 5 and 10). See equipment section below.
Heroic characters will also have a standard pool of vehicles and bases which work in a similar fashion. These can be increased with experience or character points.
Finally, Heroic characters will have an increased access to perks. I am currently considering an award of 5 Perk points for every full 10 points in Perks the character purchases. This will include experience as well.
Characters based on the Superheroic template will be built on 225 points and have any number of complications (discussed later). They will not have Normal Characteristic Maxima. They will follow the Superheroic equipment rules from Champions.
This means that they will not be allowed to take equipment without paying points for it. One off uses can be allowed, but if something is being used over and over it should be paid for. These characters will also have a small equipment allotment, at 25 points, and can only include that which can be purchased 'at the store'. If they want more or better equipment they should buy a gadget power pool. See equipment section below.
Superheroic characters will also have a standard vehicle and base allotment which can be increased with character points. They receive no special bonus in purchasing Perks or any other power.
I want to try an experiment involving Complications. Pick as many as you want (even zero)! Also, anytime I, the GM, wish to bring a Complication in to affect the story, you, the player, have 100% veto privilege. Also, you have the right to call in your Complications whenever you find them appropriate.
However...each time one of your Complications makes a real impact (negatively) on you in an effective, story fashion you earn 1-3 XP. Oh, and this is the only way to earn XP. Alternatively, if a Complication makes a minor impact in game play you can earn a Heroic Action Point.
Characters may earn free skills (such as AK, CK etc) or Perks (contacts and favors) during game play. When told by the GM to mark them down, they become a permanent part of your character like any other expenditure.
The Hero System Equipment guide has a pretty exhaustive list of stuff and their costs. When you choose your adventuring gear that goes in your personal pool, choose based on real cost with no regard given to active cost. Equipment that exists in the armory at the start of the game must come from the level of equipment the character has access to. By default, characters have Standard. A character may add any equipment he acquires during the game to his armory no matter what the level, but his equipment level is what he can reliably replenish or replace. Also, this is only related to Heroic level characters, Superheroic characters always have Standard equipment unless they pay points for individual pieces, of which they can buy anything.
Standard equipment is anything you can walk down and buy at the store. A shotgun, a hunting rifle, a handgun, a laptop, a cell phone, some binoculars etc. If you want a car or bike, it has to be something reasonably standard, something you could reliably find on Craigslist or at a dealership any given day. Body armor is limited to 6 DEF.
For 3 points your character has access to street level equipment. This stuff generally requires a permit of some kind. Fancy surveillance equipment, professional lockpicks, military small arms (lets ignore the fact that you can buy them pretty easily without a permit in this case), custom vehicles such as armored cars, or something high tech but not outlandish. Body armor up to DEF 11 is available.
For 5 points you arent kidding around when it comes to gear. You have access to military level stuff, be it machine guns, grenades, secret agent cars (like James Bond level), Cray supercomputers or body armor of any level.
Advanced Military Equipment
For 10 points you can write blank checks for space shuttles, tanks or whatever your point level can afford. Remember, you dont need the billions of dollars an F-18 costs as long as you have an alternate method to acquire it, like a contact. There has to be some kind of explanation, but if you are buying this Perk, I am sure you have one.
Armory vs Carried Equipment
Each character will have a list of all stuff they own, this is their armory. At the beginning of the game the armory can consist of no more than 1.5 times the amount in their carried equipment pool. As the game progresses, their armory can grow to any size. There is no upper limit and it does not cost points to increase. The only limiting factor is game play. If you park an F-18 in your back yard, someone is going to see it, and it will draw attention! All of your equipment (except anything you pay points for) is easy come, easy go.
Your carried equipment is limited. You can increase that level with XP during the game. Rather than worry about weight or bulkiness, we will limit what you can carry by a little common sense and a point limit. I will let you know if any of your stuff is damaged or destroyed in game. Hey everyone, here is a chance to use mechanics, inventor and weaponsmith to repair stuff!
Heroic Action Points
The 6th edition book discusses Heroic Action Points on page 287. I have never used them before, but I think we should try. Here is the wrinkle, I am going to roll them and you can ask to use them and I wont tell you when they are used up, but you may be able to infer. Briefly, HAP are like luck points in other games.
All PCs and important NPCs will be placed here.