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Michael Hopcroft

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I've been away for a while (when you're in so many fandoms, and discovering new things all the time, it takes effort to track them all). Anyway, I've been watching the Chinese TV fantasy series Ice Fantasy on Netflix, and it struck me that if I want to run a game like that HQ2 would be a great fit. (BRP proper wouldn't -- that much crunch would really get in the way of the action.) This series, for those who haven't seen it, is about a war between clans of pseudo-gods that spills into the mortal world. The main clans have formidable magic and combat skills, but are limited when dealing with mortals. Mortals don't use magic nearly as much, but are versatile and numerous. Battles are spectacular, with people flying everywhere, both when attacking and as they get hit by attacks.

How would people adapt this sort of setting to HeroQuest 2?

Edited by Michael Hopcroft
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Sounds fun. I think the key thing would be to get the fictional dynamics of the setting laid down such that everyone understands them, and then decide how the application of the mechanics should bend to reflect that.

Not having seen the show, my thought from watching things like Xu Warriors and the like is that if you want to have dramatic blow-by-blow battles, look closely at the extended contests. Something like the sequential simple contests method used in Mythic Russia may be helpful at times. I've used that approach before where I wanted the length of a battle to be more open-ended, and having consequences applied immediately from roll to roll gives a momentum/death-spiral dynamic that captures the feel of more grinding fights - when that's what you want. The extended contest dynamic of the consequences kicking in at the end is better when you're aiming for the sort of highly-cinematic exchange with lots of sound & fury that doesn't actually slow anybody down much until a decisive coup-de-grace finishes the battle. Either approach is good, just be sure to pick the one you want on purpose. If you want to reward using lots of different abilities to change things up mid-battle, perhaps give a +3 plot augment the first time a given ability is used in an extended contest.

For incorporating the dynamics of Chinese myth and super Kung-Fu, I would put some deliberate attention and planning into when you should apply bonuses for having just-the-right-ability, stretch penalties, and penalties for broad abilities used alongside more focused ones in the context of the setting. For example, I might keep a Taoist Elements chart handy to inform augment/stretch/resistance choices based on whether a matchup between opposing (or supporting) powers is advantageous or not. Does authority derived from the Mandate of Heaven include the ability to compel demons or demigods to obey the son of Heaven's laws while they walk the Earth? You'll want to know the answers to things like that.

If evocative Kung-Fu styles are part of the picture, I'd make significant ones a Keyword, with at least couple of breakout Abilities for what they're best at, and make sure that they're descriptive enough that you know when they should be advantageous or disadvantageous. For example, things like:

Eight Stone Oxen 17

  • Stampeding Avalanche Rush +2
  • Immovable Granite Beast +1

Iron Wind Fencing 17

  • Whirling Leaves Evasive Dance +1
  • Biting Wind Finds the Smallest Crack +2

...give you an idea of how to interpret what sort of actions for which they're well suited.

The "limited when dealing with mortals" bit sounds interesting, and is probably something you'll want to clearly define. You could maybe just wing it narratively by how you describe things rather than mucking about with mastery differentials or caps, unless maybe there are also some immortals around who are not so-limited also.  That is to say, Glorious Thunder Daughter might be hurling tornadoes when battling the Unyielding Mountain Dragon with her full might yet just throwing thunderous punches when restraining herself facing Righteous Humble Village Hero, but GTD's player is still rolling 6w2 for her ability rating either way. You just describe and interpret the fiction based on the context of the conflict.

In theory, ability ratings in HQ2 are just a reflection of the ability's effectiveness in overcoming challenges within the narrative context. In practice some form of "except when they aren't and actually represent something concrete" seems to be common as well. To take the obvious Glorantha example, one's ratings in Runes or Grimoires have actual concrete impact on what you're able to do with them beyond the target number for your die roll. Think about what spaces in this adaptation of the toolkit would merit such treatment, if any. If you want to have access to certain tiers of supernatural feats gated by mechanical thresholds, you'll want to define them. OTOH, if all the characters have wacky vaulting & fireball throwing or whatever, no need to sweat enumerating tiers for access - just follow the fiction.

(I would enjoy playing a Taoist sorcerer that had specific spells based on mixing a few base verbs with I-Ching hexograms, but that may not be everyone's cup of tea.)


Edited by JonL
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Absolutely, HQ fits Wuxia very well for the walking up walls, arrow-cutting, powered swordsmen abilities. Just give each ability a name and some breakouts and that is it.

Of course, it doesn't fit the bloody nature of Wuxia combat, but does fit the slicing through 4 opponents easily style.


Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 


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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/26/2016 at 10:23 AM, soltakss said:

Of course, it doesn't fit the bloody nature of Wuxia combat, but does fit the slicing through 4 opponents easily style.

That really depends on how you narrate results. Suffering a Major Defeat in a sword fight could certainly involve having an arm lopped off, losing an eye, or similar crippling injury. Similarly, conflict framing can set the tone.

If we were playing The Showdown at House of Blue Leaves scene from Kill Bill vol 1, The Bride's goal is to force O-Ren to face her in a duel, and the tactic she's using is to kill or maim anyone who stands in her way. The Crazy-88 opposes this, hoping to see either The Bride killed or failing that at least worn down to the point that O-Ren will have the advantage when they face each other one-on-one.

The GM treats fighting the Crazy-88 (dozens of mostly weak foes) as an extended contest against a single obstacle with Resistance of Very High rather than fooling with dozens multiple opponents. After a few rounds, The Bride manages to carry the battle with five result points to the Crazy-88's three (the round the Crazy-88 scored those points, the GM described intense fighting vs Gogo). Since The Showdown at House of Blue Leaves is the climax of Volume 1, those three RP against her leave The Bride at Hurt status going into her duel with O-Ren.

Edited by JonL
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