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In between the times that I've been working on that game system, I've devised another based on Nintendo's Pikmin series. I've always enjoyed the concept of playing as an astronaut the size of an american nickel while being helped by plant creatures the size of an american dime with the individuality of ants. It's just funny/cute/amusing, but I still found myself enjoying having to fight a world of giants (that would be pea sized in our perspective) with a very surreal perspective. Because you can only play the same video game so many times without memorizing the layout, I've taken it upon myself to bring it into tabletop form.
My Pokemon game was an attempt at making dice be a pure GM thing, while Westbound was my attempt at seeing how far I can do without a real system. I think looking back, my Pokemon game would be best served with some dice here and there, and Westbound needed an actual system for it to keep going, and for it to actually have more dramatic moments.
Taking those two games into account, I've pieced together the Pikmin game, and I've detailed it below:
Welcome to PNF-404, the home planet of the Pikmin. You are the member of a space faring alien species, about the size of an american quarter who has found themselves on PNF-404 for one reason or another. Perhaps your ship crash landed? Perhaps you need to get treasure? Maybe your world is going through famine and you need fruits? Perhaps you are a scientist documenting the life of the world? Whatever the reason, you are being helped by american dime sized creatures known as Pikmin, who look like carrots with pointed heads tipped in either a leaf, bud, or flower.
All around PNF-404 is hostile life and phenomena that is harmful to both you and the Pikmin. What you do know are that the Pikmin will follow your commands unquestioningly, even if it is to go deep into the throats of the world's monstrous creatures.
On PNF-404, you search far and wide for the objects of your quest, while the Pikmin help you out.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First things first, you need to make your character; the intrepid explorer on PNF-404!
Creating Your Character:
Whether your character is a faithful worker for Hocotate Freight, or even a researcher or explorer out for riches and prestige, they all need to have their abilities defined. These abilities are measured on a scale from -1 to 3.
Step 1: Determine Abilities:
The five abilities are:
Athletics: How fast you can move, but also how deft you are at avoiding pitfalls, hazards, and attacks, but also how good you are at swimming, climbing, jumping, or other athletics. Be warned, for your Pikmin aren't necessarily going to be as good an athlete as you.
Notice: Your ability to pinpoint hidden threats or goodies, but also perhaps the weak points of monsters.
Rally: Your ability to get your Pikmin back under control should they panic or lose control, or to better direct them through hazardous conditions or complex actions. Can also be used to exert your personality if need be.
Self-Defense: Your ability to shrug off damage done to you, additional hitpoints, and your personal fighting ability. An explorer can only go so far on PNF-404 without Pikmin to help them however. An Explorer has a number of hitpoints equal to 12 plus Self-Defense. An explorer deals 1 Damage per hit if Self-Defense is between -1 to 1, 2 if Self-Defense is 2, and 3 if Self-Defense is 3.
Throwing: How far and accurately you can throw things. Also determines how well you can throw multitudes of a thing, such as Pikmin. You can throw up to 6 Pikmin per round (1 Pikmin per second), but some situations might behoove you to use less Pikmin instead of more.
Each of the five statistics are at a -1 at its base amount, and its costs 1 point to raise a value up by +1. You have +10 points to distribute between all of your stats.
During your travels, you might discover the means to improve your explorer even more. Perhaps making their suits immune to Fire, or giving your punches more clout, or even giving you a ranged attack! But such things aren't for Character Creation. Those things are up to the bravery and teamwork of your explorers.
Step 2: Fill in the Blanks:
Answer the questions below. The Space Ship (SS, another word for the Gamemaster or GM) will provide to you the world in which you came from (the planet harboring Hocotate Freight is the classical one), and the reason why you're going to PNF-404. Sometimes, the SS might let the Explorers (Players) deliberate over those reasons themselves. If so, they should come from a common origin, or at least have a good reason for not only being on the same ship, but working together on it.
- What is your character's name?
- Does your character have any connections back at home, such as family? Someone to write back to or receive messages from?
- What does your character look like? They may be wearing an environmental suit, but they still look unique underneath it.
And that's it!
The Core Mechanic:
All actions are resolved by rolling a 2d6, and then adding the appropriate modifier to it. Only the explorers roll the dice. All things controlled by the SS will automatically hit. The explorers however are the ones who determine if those hits are successful or not by rolling the appropriate dice.
It should also be noted that Pikmin alone won't be rolling any dice either. If they are not in your control, they are in the SS's control.
The result of the roll determines how the action will go:
The Result of the 2d6 + Modifier Roll is...
6 or Less: The action happens on the terms of the SS/in favor of the monster or hazard.
7-9: It's a compromise. You get your action in, but the SS also gets some terms in that can complicate the endeavor, or future endeavors.
10 or More: The action is a full success and happens on the terms of the Explorer within reason.
Your spaceship is your vehicle for navigating PNF-404, but is also pivotal for completing your mission. When you find goods that are vital for your mission, your Pikmin will carry those goods to your spaceship, which will then process what's what. It will handle appraising, repairs, you name it. It's your job as the explorers to do the exploring.
The Pikmin are what this game is all about. Pikmin come in many shapes and sizes, but they're all more or less carrot shaped, and have a head topped in either a leaf, a bud, or a flower. They are how you will get the goods to your ship, and how you can bypass all the challenges PNF-404 has to throw at you. Each Pikmin has unique abilities that will make them more useful in one situation or another.
A good number of Pikmin to be controlled between all explorers should be around 25 Pikmin per explorer, or 100 Pikmin in total if at less than 4 explorers. Just keep in mind that the more Pikmin you have following you, the more you have to account for, and take across hazards. In Pikmin, time is of the essence, and too many Pikmin can take too much time.
Making Pikmin is the SS's job, but the SS should explain what each Pikmin does as its abilities get used.
Pikmin have two Abilities, and also special qualities. The Abilities are:
Attack: Determines the damage a Pikmin deals.
Speed: Determines how fast a Pikmin is, and how quickly they can get past hazards and run away.
The above stats are numbered from 1 to 3. A Pikmin deals as much damage per turn as its Attack Stat, and can move faster than other monsters with a lower Speed stat.
When making Pikmin, it costs 1 point to raise a Pikmin's stat by 1. At their base, each Pikmin has 1 Attack, and 1 Speed. The SS has 4 Points in which to spend to make Basic Pikmin. Basic Pikmin are easy to replace. In the games, Red, Yellow, and Blue Pikmin are all Basic Pikmin (All spawn from seeds that come from their flying ships called Onions).
Non-Basic Pikmin aren't so easy to replace, but you have 8 Points to spend on making them instead of 4.
These stats can be further augmented by whether or not the Pikmin is a Leaf, Bud, or Flower Pikmin. A Leaf Pikmin's stats are unmodified, while a Bud Pikmin's stats are each improved by +1, while the Flower Pikmin's stats are each improved by +1 more. These bonuses can surpass a normal Pikmin's stat limit of 3 (such that it can be a 4 as a Bud, and a 5 as a Flower)
Pikmin have numerous special qualities, each of which costs 1 point, including:
Immunity to Damage Type (Fire, Water, Electricity, Poison, Acid, Crushing, Chopping, Stabbing, Ice, Chewing, Explosions, Falling, etc). This also makes them immune to hazards that do that effect as well.
NOTE: While a Pikmin can be immune to being chewed, it doesn't make them immune to being swallowed.
- Throwing Support (Provides a +1 Bonus on Throwing actions when throwing this Pikmin)
- Searcher (Provides a +1 Bonus to Notice actions if you have them at the ready. Can automatically dig up hidden goodies if positioned over or near it without need for an action).
- Soldier (Rally Actions made are treated as if it were +1 greater than was rolled.)
- Heavy Lifter (Lift x5 more than other Pikmin, but can move at only one fifth the pace of other Pikmin when they carry it, so long as if the number of Pikmin carrying the object doesn't meet or exceed the carrying number).
- Demolitionist (Can utilize explosive rocks without risk).
- Bad to Eat (If eaten, instantly deals damage equal to its Attack to the foe if a Leaf Pikmin, x2 if a Bud, and x3 if a Flower. The damage type is up to the SS, but should fit the Pikmin's theme. Poison is a common damage type to use for this).
- Climber (Can climb most surfaces without a sweat, and can even carry things while climbing).
- Flyer (Can fly, but if you are to fly while carrying something, then you will need twice as many Pikmin to carry it)
- Jumper (Can jump across distances equal to about 10x their size without your needing to throw them)
- Thud (Deal x2 Damage if the Throw Action's result was 10+. This damage is commonly Crushing, but any damage type that fits the Pikmin is ok too.)
- Stun (Stun a foe if it lands on it, and the Throw Action's result was 10+)
- Shatter (Shatter a carapace if the Throw Action's result was 10+. Shatter flimsy surfaces like glass or thin ice with ease)
- Burrower (Can burrow under soft surfaces)
- Parasitic (If eaten, can take control of non-boss monsters for a short time. If a Leaf Pikmin, takes control for 1 turn. Bud Pikmin take control for 2 turns, while Flower Pikmin take control for 3 turns. If the monster is a boss, this ability is treated as if it were Bad to Eat instead).
- Bundle (Two can be thrown at one time without penalty.)
- Gripper (Can hold on even when a Monster attempts to shake it off)
The above list is prone to expansion.
Basic Pikmin live in odd ships known as Onions that fly in low orbit over the planet to protect Pikmin from the nocturnal predators that are rife on the planet. At the end of the day, all nearby Pikmin will make way for their respective Onions. Those that are too far away to reach the Onion in time will be eaten by the predators on the planet's surface.
For Non-Basic Pikmin, your spaceship likely has compartments that can fit them; or perhaps there exists an odd hole or two in an area where you can leave them; because Non-Basic Pikmin do not have Onions to hide and rest in.
Onions can also produce their respective color of Pikmin. If a nutrient source is brought to an onion, the onion will produce an amount of Pikmin equal to the amount of Pikmin it takes to carry the nutrient source, with some exceptions.
If either the nutrient source matches the Pikmin's type, or if it's a monster's body, then it produces a number of Pikmin equal to the amount of Pikmin it takes to carry the monster, plus one quarter more, but always at least 1 more. The Pikmin produced from Onions grow out of the ground like carrots. It is up to you to pluck them out. Alternatively, you can save time by having the onion produce the Pikmin inside of itself. If so, you save time, but those Pikmin won't eventually become Bud or Flower Pikmin over time.
Pikmin are fond of carrying their food source back to the onion of their color. If there are more Pikmin of one color carrying a food source than others, then it will go to the majority Pikmin's onion. If the number of Pikmin carrying it is split down the middle, then its a draw, and you will need to assign the odd Pikmin of one of the colors to determine which Onion it goes to. Otherwise, it sits in the middle of camp.
PNF-404 has a lot of things that are helpful to either you or your Pikmin. Things such as Berries can be found that can be made into concoctions that can assist your Pikmin, or hinder your foes.
For example, finding red berries can make a spicy spray that when used on your Pikmin can make their Attack and Speed double for a short time, or purple berries can make a bitter spray that petrifies foes for a short time.
Nectar is the most helpful for Pikmin, because a Pikmin that consumes nectar will become Flower Pikmin. The only other way for Pikmin to become Bud or Flower Pikmin is to leave them in the ground unplucked for a day (to Bud Pikmin), or two days (to Flower Pikmin).
But there are sure to be others.
Advantage/Disadvantage: If a situation lends you an advantage, then you gain a +1 bonus to your Action. If it lends you a disadvantage, you get a -1 penalty instead. For example, if a creature were unaware of you by the time you strike, you get a +1 bonus on your action to take advantage of it. If on the other hand the monster gets the jump on you, then you get a -1 penalty to all actions before it becomes your turn.
Carrying: Pikmin carry all the goodies you need back to your ship. Pikmin that carry things have their speed reduced by half, so long as if they are at the minimum number of Pikmin needed to carry it. As a rule, up to twice as many Pikmin as the minimum number can carry the object. If twice as many Pikmin are carrying it, then they carry the object at their normal speed (or the speed of the slowest Pikmin carrying it).
Helpless Targets: If your target is helpless, for example, if its asleep, or otherwise incapacitated, your actions taken against it will be automatic Successes (As if you rolled 10+). Plus, those helpless won't take actions, until they come to. Coming to counts as their turn.
Stunning: Stunning is similar to being helpless, in that they cannot take actions. However, actions taken against them are at an Advantage instead of given an automatic success.
Monsters are anything from the Bulborbs, to the bizarre Snagrets, or even cybernetic spiders. Whatever the case with monsters, they will require strategy to take down. Not just between you and your Pikmin, but also your friends and theirs.
The balance in monsters isn't nearly as important as it is between the Explorers and the Pikmin. If a monster looks incredibly dangerous, then give the explorers a way around it, or perhaps make them have to be really creative in taking it down. Make it clear if the explorers decide to take the time to scout it out, and reward them by giving them what they notice according to their action.
If you want a monster that can be dealt with with some challenge; but not while being completely impossible, then first, pick a number that is often between 1-20. This number you choose is how many Pikmin it will take to pick up the corpse, and also how many Pikmin can latch onto the creature at the same time; if not, twice that number. It also determines how tough the monster is going to be.
Monsters should typically have between a speed of 1 (sluggish) to a speed of 3 (moderate) if they are out to kill and eat Pikmin. Those who rely on running away from Pikmin might have a greater speed (4 or 5). You can only keep up with such monsters without an Athletics Action if your Athletics stat is at or greater than theirs. Monsters that run from Pikmin often harbor goodies that they and you would like.
A Monster will likely have a number of hitpoints equal to the chosen number, times the number of explorers playing the game or less, and they all have the ability to shake Pikmin off of them, and most of them have the ability to eat them as detailed below:
Shake-Off: The monster shakes all Pikmin off of them. The Pikmin that fall off take 1 Damage, but a Pikmin cannot die of a Shake-Off, and thus take no damage from it if they have 1 Hitpoint left.
Eat: The Monster eats Pikmin, killing the Pikmin instantly. Monsters of numbers 1-4 often can only eat 1 Pikmin at a time. 5-8 can often eat 2, 9-12 can eat 3 and so on. This rule can have exceptions upon the SS's decision. A good rule of thumb though is if you want a monster to eat less Pikmin at a time, you can designate 1 more ability for the monster; or you can choose to make it weaker than others of its kind. Likewise, you can sacrifice giving it an ability to make it so it can eat more at a time. Perhaps you want it to start incapacitated instead?
Of course, some monsters don't eat Pikmin, or at least don't attack them by eating them.
Monsters have many abilities, but it is recommended to only have 1 to 2 abilities on a monster at one time.
Carapace: The creature has a tough armor on it, making it impervious to Pikmin. Despite that, a creature often has a spot that isn't covered in carapace; and that spot is often the head. If an explorer goes good with their Notice action though, give away the weak spot, or at least hint at it if the result was a compromise. Pikmin attacking the carapace deal no damage to the monster.
Fly: The monster can fly around. Flying creatures can only be reached by throwing Pikmin at them, or by some other ability the Pikmin has to reach those heights. Pikmin that successfully latch onto a flying monster weighs it down. Once enough Pikmin equal to its target number latch onto it, the flying monster will fall to the ground.
Hidden: The monster is hidden, perhaps via camouflage or mimicry, and will take a successful Notice action to notice it is even there before it takes you by surprise.
Resurrect: If a monster lies fallow for a number of turns equal to either 5 turns, the an amount of turns equal to its designated number; whichever is greater, then it will reawaken at full fighting strength. The only way to defeat it is to carry it back either to an Onion or to your ship if its also a goodie.
Special Attack: The monster has a special attack it can use that is often an area attack that can hit up to a number of Pikmin equal to its desigated number in a specific area, but can be larger. Designate that area as a line (Those directly in front of it), a cone (widens as it goes further out), a burst (a target circular area), a spray (in an arc around the monster), or some other. This attack deals a particular type of damage. If an explorer's Notice action was good enough, then give away the element the monster is going to use. The damage dealt with this attack is 1 hitpoint per round to the Explorer if its a lingering effect, or 2 if its instantaneous. Such a special attack will also devolve a Flower or a Bud Pikmin to their previous stage (Bud to Leaf, Flower to Bud). Pikmin hit will also go out of control, unless the Explorer makes a good enough Rally action. A really good Rally action will even cancel out the lingering effect.
Special Coat: The monster's skin is coated with an element that could prove harmful to your Pikmin.
If an explorer's Notice action was good enough, then give away the element the monster is going to use. The damage dealt with this attack is 1 hitpoint per round if its a lingering effect, or 2 if its only so long as if the Pikmin remains on the creature. Either way, such a special attack will also devolve a Flower or a Bud Pikmin to their previous stage (Bud to Leaf, Flower to Bud).
Pikmin hit by lingering effects will go out of control, unless the explorer makes a good enough Rally action. A really good Rally action will even cancel out the lingering effect. On the other hand, those who land on a coating that deals damage only so long as if the Pikmin will devolve only so long as they remain on it. Often, remaining on such a creature for more than 1 round will kill the Pikmin if they aren't immune to that damage type.
Some monsters might be sleeping during the day, giving you an advantage against them for sneaking up on them. Other monsters might be hidden, waiting for you to get too close. Some monsters might be covered in a burning coat of fire, or exuding noxious gas. Others might have a wide mouth, allowing them to eat an amount of Pikmin equal to the number of explorers at the same time. Others might be flying, requiring your needing to throw Pikmin on them. Some monsters might even regenerate after defeat, requiring you to deliver their corpse to the appropriate place (Onion, your ship, etc.)
In the case of Bosses however, make sure they do have a good amount of hitpoints (the figure about taking the number of Pikmin it would take to carry the boss's corpse around, and multiplying it by the number of explorers is a good number), but you do want to prioritize strategy, and making the explorers think about how to carry out their next action. For example, a boss might change their coating to a different element every round, prioritizing hit-and-run tactics with the correct Pikmin, while your teammates juggle around who will be the most threatening to it. Or if you want flying or climbing to play the game, then have there be stalactites or spiky fruit above the boss that your Pikmin can drop onto it. With Bosses, you don't want it to be a game where you roll the action, and then stop paying attention.
If a Boss gets defeated, the explorers should be rewarded with something exceptional that will help them in future endeavors on PNF-404, such as a material that makes your suit immune to electricity or acid, or even better punching power, or even a good prototype for a ray gun!
Hazards & Obstacles:
Hazards are anything that would present a threat to your or your Pikmin. Perhaps they are fiery vents, or walls, or gaps, or even pools of water. You must prioritize using the correct Pikmin to dispose of them, or at least find a way to get around such hazards; be it by destroying them, getting around them, or however it is. As a whole, the explorers should clearly see that there was a hazard there before proceeding.
Hazards are ranked by the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and Continuous. A Hazard of a 1 Rank can get Pikmin with 1 Speed per round. 2 Rank gets Pikmin of 2 Speed, and 3 Rank gets Pikmin of 3 Speed, and 4 Rank gets Pikmin of 4 Speed. Continuous means that the hazard is constantly going on. To bypass the hazard, you thus need a Pikmin with a faster speed, or some other means.
Continuous Hazards should come with a way around it, or at least a way for the right Pikmin to destroy them.
Some Hazards might be exceptionally dangerous and require a lot of teamwork to get by, but if the explorers manage to get by with enough Pikmin, then reward them with something exceptional that they can take with them for the rest of their adventures on PNF-404; just like defeating a Boss would!
Hazards can also play into how you can defeat monsters. If you can lure a monster into a fiery vent, or even find an explosive rock, you can do some pretty nasty damage.
The damage done by Hazards vary, but the rule of thumb is that if the hazard goes of periodically, it'll deal little damage (1 to 2 damage per round), while one that goes off once will deal a lot of damage. An explosive rock might deal 10 to 15 to even 20 damage; or at least do something really nasty to the creature's condition against future endeavors.
Day and Night:
PNF-404 is far too dangerous at night, with roving monsters coming in droves, eating each other, and every pikmin they can find; and you should you linger. The best time to explore PNF-404 is during the day, from dawn to twilight. You have 12 hours to do what you must before the monsters come out in droves. After those 12 hours, you will either need to be near to, or in the vicinity of your ship and Onions, or else your return trip will be far more dangerous; if the ship didn't already leave. The Onions leave on their own.
Each place where the ship lands is a Land. A Land is composed of areas. Some areas are big, others small; but a Land should be able to be traversed in the course of 12 hours or less by Pikmin of a Speed stat of 1 if devoid of hazards and monsters.
When you make areas, designate how much time it would take to go from one side to the next. A standard Area likely takes 1 hour for a Pikmin of speed 1 to get around in without hazards and monsters around. You make those areas as big or as small as you like, just so long as if the traversing time doesn't exceed 12 hours.
If an explorer reaches the edge of an area and wants to go beyond it. Then let them, but recommend that they land closer to that area the next day, because returning to the ship might be more difficult if they don't. If the SS isn't fond of that, then he can tell the explorers that you have nothing planned for that area, and that it would be best if they don't stray that far from the map.
Some areas are "Dungeons", which are often underground where time is meaningless due to the ecology/nature of the place. With it, you bring a limited number of Pikmin with you (often 100, but it's up to the SS), and then you explore down below. You may find goodies, or other oddities; but at the end is often a Boss, or the greatest challenge within.
There is no escape from the "Dungeon", except by way of special escapes, or at the very end of it.
These sorts of places are often best when you have to collect a wide multitude of things as part of your mission, and can spread them out from level to level.
When you exit, you return to the "Dungeon" entrance, and not to your base camp. So make sure you have enough time to return to camp before you take on a dungeon!
If there is nothing in the Dungeon your Pikmin can bring treasures to, you put them into a pile, and excavate all of them out in front of the dungeon when you surface.
1 Turn is about 6 seconds of time. Things that are action intensive, such as getting past monsters or getting through hazards are measured in turns. Convert the number of turns it took to defeat a monster or bypass a hazard into seconds, and then subtract that from the total amount of time left in the day.
In addition, it takes 1 second to pluck a Pikmin from the ground.
Pikmin is also a game where you have to make sure you use your time well and wisely. Every second counts. It might be wise to split the explorer's tasks between an area, or other times, you'll need to band together to get past something.
The End of the Day:
At the end of the day, you take inventory of all that you gathered, Pikmin you got and lost, monsters defeated, hazards bypassed, etc.
At which point, you reflect on the day. Perhaps you send a message to your family, to your boss, or you banter with each other. Sometimes, each explorer might be separate in their messaging, but other times, they might be all together on it. Or it might be a mix of the two. Either way is ok.
However they do it, and if their message was meaningful enough, the SS can reward those players with the ability to get an automatic Success (Rolled a 10+) on the next day that gets lost if not used by then. You should also make that ability dependent on whether or not those players are involved in the action to be deemed an automatic success.
For example, four explorers, named Luken, Gerb, Kinna, and Sert are reflecting upon the end of their days. Luken and Kinna work together on their reflection, while Gerb and Sert work together on theirs. The SS enjoyed both of their reflections, and so they both get that automatic success for the next day.
The thing is, Luken and Kinna can only use their automatic success if they are doing their actions together/accomplishing the same goal in the same moment. The same goes with Gerb and Sert.
Sometimes, the SS might want to bring a message from the boss or from the family to all of you for all of you to respond to. Be creative here! However you all do it reflects on how you are preparing for your next day in exploring PNF-404, with the Pikmin to help you.
As always guys, do speak up if you see something that needs more clarification. These rules are a rough draft, and honestly, I got through some of this when I was half asleep and just wanting to be done with it.
Not sure when or if this will be played, but I've always enjoyed the concept of the Pikmin games, and I want to be able to play it even without a Nintendo console.
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Since it was talked about yesterday, and I brought up the d20 Modern character that was mentioned then, I suppose, I could give a basic theme as far as what evil means to him.
This is Marcus Harren. He is the Chief of Cybernetics for Corsec, a military security company based on Nova Corinth, a planet that has years past separated from the United Federation, and recently, has come under command of the villainous Baron Blackwell. The Baron rules the city planet with an iron fist, and random people being gunned down in the street by Spire Guard are not unheard of, though they do tend to leave the wealthier districts alone.
Harren himself is a rather unassuming man. He works studiously with his other executive level scientist, a shut in prodigy known as Abbigail Haverly, in order to achieve CEO Harold Walker's aims. He enjoys a good game of Blitzball, his favorite team is the Nova York Yankees. He's even loved and lost in his time. So, the question is. What makes him evil?
Well, the thing that makes him evil, is necessity. You see, Harren, along with the rest of his crew, were rather quickly drafted into the resistance against the Baron. Now, the resistance, as you might expect, has been fighting a losing battle for a couple years now. So, the group finds themselves as willing or unwilling participants in this war, and the best thing is, they are on the losing team.
So, we now have motive. Harren, much like most people, really don't find the idea of being gunned down by a Spire Guard firing squad a good way to spend their night cycle. So, he has to figure out a way to help, and fast, before the resistance reaches too far, too fast.
The solution he comes up with, therefore, is winning with science. If the resistance has access to better men through the inevitable march towards technological superiority, they should have a better chance. But where to start?
Marcus first decides that well. We have this super dangerous and VERY much illegal chemical compound that is simply known as "Boost". It serves as a combat stimulant, making the recipient stronger, faster, and far more resilient to damage, some of the people even functioning after taking numerous gut shots. The trade off is, that it is more addictive than any current earth drug. So his task, is to convince the resistance leader that the compound is entirely safe, and that means working out a prototype. There should be an obvious question here: if it's addictive, who would want to test it?
Marcus found his answer in captive scavengers. He took three of them back to his laboratory, and tested them relentlessly, injecting them with Boost time and time again, trying to find the magic dose. One of them died painfully during this procedure, and all of the others were begging for mercy by the time he was done. As it was, he hasn't given death to them yet. The two survivors are just too useful for later tests. He eventually plans to perfect cybernetic surgery of things larger than a chip, as he eventually plans on transplanting a metallic heart into one of the group's main fighters. And he needs all the help he can get.
I hope this case study helps out show that evil can take many forms for those interested in learning about it.
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Everyone who has been playing tabletop games for some time should be familiar with both, but for those who might not be, min maxing is the concept of building a character as optimally as possible with the best allocation of stat points, skills, feats, and abilities to make the character as powerful as possible with the least possible weaknesses in order to steamroll through as much of the game as the character can.
Munchkins to my understanding are fresh or low level characters built along the same lines as min maxed characters but typically also come with a chosen set of negative traits that have little to no impact on the way the player wants to play the character, but allow them to take an equal number of positives that make the character supremely effective in the chosen playstyle, whether it be attribute bonuses, extra feats, or powerful starting equipment.
Players make characters like this for a variety of reasons, in my opinion the most common one being the desire to project the character as an avatar of themselves and wanting to bask in the vicarious glory of that character being an unstoppable badass. Character inserts such as these are extremely prevalent throughout all forms of entertainment media whether it be games, comics, books, or film. I'd say that's the root behind most min maxed characters, but it's also simply great fun to play a powerful character and plow through hordes of mooks, smite dragons, and challenge gods.
Some games are designed specifically with min maxed characters in mind, such as gestalt campaigns where players are allowed to make characters that combine different classes without the usual penalties to make heroes with extreme power or utility, or both. Others allow characters to start with more than the usual amount of currency or equipment to allow the party a head start that lets them snowball faster than in most adventures.
In games not specifically tailored for them, min maxed characters can have a very negative effect. Especially if only one or two of the players choose to min max and the rest of the group is comprised of more average heroes. You end up with situations where one character is far more effective than their comrades, and has a much greater impact on the encounters prepared by the DM. Depending on the personalities of the players in your group this can lead to resentment if the min maxer lords the effectiveness of their character over the others or consistently trivializes encounters that the DM worked hard to build. It can also lead to a sort of arms race between the players and the DM as the DM begins to tune encounters to match a min maxed character, perhaps leading to the demise of characters who aren't capable of handling such an escalation.
I can see it happening in the Star Wars game with us spending our xp to change feats and talents. I feel that in the case of the Star Wars game this is ok since Arreen doesn't pull any punches with his encounters and even min maxed characters such as Taral, Visase, and the newly rebuilt Hartel are pushed to their limits or at least near them. For now it seems fine, but as we gain more levels I could see it eventually becoming a problem as more characters reach their snowball point (Taral will see a massive spike in power and utility at level 6 and keep on as we continue if I follow my planned build for him) and Arreen is forced to compensate to keep his encounters challenging and interesting. Possibly becoming frustrated at the extra work involved somewhere down the line.
On that note I confess that it's extremely difficult for I myself to avoid min maxing. Partly for the reason I mentioned earlier and partly because I tend to fall in love with my characters and as a result I like to build them in such a way that there is little risk of them dying. I've also been an avid player of rpg video games since I started gaming and have also played WoW for 10 years, both of which encourage min maxing more than any other genre of game in my experience if you desire to do well in them.
So what are your own thoughts on min maxing an munchkins? Overall I feel like it has its place and has the potential to make a given campaign more fun for everyone involved if done well. But it can also be a very slippery slope.