Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hero Hunters: Rep & Consequences

I've been thinking more about my upcoming "Hero Hunters" campaign, and I realized that I need to start working out some house rules to make this work in a way that I'll be happy with. I need to work out some ideas for how to do the various missions and jobs my mercenary team of villains will be undertaking, while at the same time coming up with other ways to reward/encourage the "right" kind of behavior.  Naturally, I could always use a "stick" to punish the players who stray to far, but I'd rather given a reason to do things the right way.

First, I need to define what is the "right" way. I want the players to be a combination of gloating, over the top Super-Villains and cool and professional bad asses. As such, I've decided to implement a "Rep" score for the game--technically each PC would have their own Rep score, but since they're a team it should effectively end up being the same for all of them. In general, Rep is a broad social stat that informs how well they are known, and how feared/respected they are. Of course a big part of this is how "professional" they are--they're not supposed to be the Joker, trying to kill thousands, but instead Deathstroke (or, more accurately, Parker). In addition, it determines what kinds of jobs they can get, and how much they can expect to get paid.

So, stealing a bit from Mechwarrior, I've decided that the Rep score is made up of a number of points. Each threshold gives the players a different letter rating. This letter rating determines the players general standing in the mercenary/Super-Villain community.

Rep ScorePointsExampleTypical Payout (in US Dollars)
Fanything negativeUtter unknowns, disgraced psychopathsfew hundred to a few thousand, typically doing jobs to survive
D0-45Typical beginners--henchmen and thugstens of thousands
C46-90Villains who have made a namehundred of thousands
B91-120Famous and professionalmillions
A120+The most feared and famous villainstens of millions

The players rep score can change the following ways:

Mercenary Modifiers:

  • 5 points--Complete Job
  • 5 points--Complete Job in the face of unexpected and powerful opposition (target was secretly a meta-human, for example)
  • 10 points (permanent)--players have their own support staff to handle medical issues, getting in and out of other countries, fake ID's, etc.
  • 5 points--behaves professionally (treats employer respectively, minimized casualties, etc.)
  • -25 points--each uncompleted mission.
Super-Villainy Modifiers
  • 5 points--acts like a "big shot" (ex: spends money like its going out of style)
  • 10 points--fight and perform well against famous heroes or villains (being defeated by A listers happens...)
  • 20 points--fight to a draw famous heroes or villains 
  • 40 points--defeat famous heroes or villains
  • 10 points--having a "theme" and pulling jobs everyone KNOWS you did, but no one can PROVE it
  • -20 points--being defeated by minor heroes or villains (sidekicks, teenagers, etc.)
  • -40 points--being defeated by the cops (unassisted by a hero or villain)
  • 5 points--levels 2-3
  • 10 points-- levels 4-5
  • 20 points-- levels 6-10
  • 40 points--level 11+
  • -40 points--behaving "unprofessionally" if and when you are defeated (snitching, begging, etc.)
Meta-human Modifiers
  • -20 point--not having a defined "name" and iconography. No one takes generic bad ass in a trench coat seriously nowadays. You need to be wearing purple tights with yellow star-bursts if you want to people to fear you..
  • -5 points--someone shares your name. There's only so many cool names out there, and inevitably someone doubles up. This almost always means a conflict is coming.
  • 10 points--defending your name (doesn't matter if your were the original or not) in an "honorable" grudge match.
  • 10 points--panache. There's no point in being a villain if you don't have STYLE while doing it. +5 points for each notable accomplishment when it comes to style. 
  • -20 points--being a maniac. Psycho killers drag everyone down.
  • 20 points--embracing fame. Going public, giving interviews, just being known is a great way to increase your rep, though it draws the laser like focus of heroes and governments. Tricky to pull off long term.
Unmasking--I'm stealing this from Aberrant. One of the "traditions" of the meta-humans in my world is that they generally don't like to fight to the death. Instead, victory is accomplished by beating a foe to the brink of death/unconsciousness and ceremoniously "unmasking" them, those depriving them of their power and status. Those who are so unmasked are forced either out of the "game" or they must come up with an entirely new costume/make/theme.  They can not reclaim their old without defeating the one who bested them. Attempts to do so are met with scorn and derision.

  • -5 points--killing a fellow Meta-Human
  • 0 points--unmasking a minor or unknown hero or villain (Rep D or F)
  • 5 points--unmasking a typical hero or villain (Rep C). 
  • 15 points--unmasking a famous hero or villain (Rep B)
  • 40 points--unmasking one of the most famous heroes or villains (Rep A)
  • -50 point--being unmasked
  • -50 points--"clinging" to your old identity/not accepting your unmasking "properly."
  • 70 points--taking your name back "properly."

1 comment:

  1. I was pretty happy to read the Meta-Human table. I think there's a potential problem with Supers games, one that I've run into at least, where everyone wants to be the guy that's too cool for a costume, everyone wants to be the guy that deconstructs the Comics aesthetic. If you have too much of that (I think a group is allowed one guy) then the whole thing falls apart. Because a comic-derived supers game makes a lot of assumptions that the world would work in the ridiculous way it works in the two big serial fictions of the industry, and if you question one aspect of that, it all falls apart.

    Super-villains need to dress kind of like super-heroes so that they can commit super-crime instead of normal crime. Fact. If you have super-powers and you're only committing normal crime, you're under-achieving. The name and outfit mark you as a participant in the rules that disallows true transgression against society, your pledge that you will limit your harm to massive property destruction and nominal loss of life.

    Super-villains can be psychotic (this will be a 90s game, and these guys were everywhere then) or motivated (be it Red Skull or Magneto, villains with a purpose) but many of the characters with financial motivations try to limit killing, especially of heroes. It escalates the response, increases the inevitable punishment, etc. I really like this Luchador-esque mask stuff too, shades of Erik Josten fighting Luke Cage over the rights to Power Man.

    Another thing I've been thinking about is how it can cost money to make money. I was looking this review of an old RPG comic book ( and noticing how every super-team used to have a space shuttle. The Support Staff bit of the Mercenary Modifier table supports that: once you get to a certain stature in the game, employers aren't going to get you to the Savage Land; they just hire you and everything else is part of the service you provide. And that means jet repairs keep eating away at your Swiss bank account...


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