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I'm curious about something. I have been hooked on the web animation RWBY for a while now, to the point that I'm wondering what a Superworld/BRP game in that setting would look like. 

The main challenge is that characters in RWBY are almost impossible to kill. Not totally impossible (some heroes do die), but most of the time they can absorb terrific amounts of damage and shrug it off. Deadly weapons, when used against the sort of characters who might be used as PCs, are frequently inadequate to the task. In one season-ending episode, the main viewpoint character takes two bullets to the gut and several hard blows to the head, and not only does she survive but she is barely if at all impaired -- remaining fully conscious while the person inflicitng all the damage continues to kick her in the head and taunt her about how he is a natural survivor (before being swallowed by a monster in one gulp). This is a sixteen-year-old girl.

On the other hand, another character in the same episode is shot through the heart with an arrow and manages to force out some last words before being cremated alive by her assailant, And one of the heroines does in fact lost her right forearm in combat. Still, people bull through things they should have no business surviving at all.

That's why I put it in this section as opposed to, say, standard BRP's section. Without a familiarity with superpowers or a means of controlling lethality, the setting breaks down pretty quickly. And it would be a shame if it did, because it's a wonderfully colorful setting that combined over-the-top action, intriguing opportunities for roleplaying and character development, and a well-defined mythology that provides a lot of freedom of action for player-characters.

There is also opportunity for comedy as well. RWBY Chibi, a comedic spin-off of about three-minute collections of sketches, is one of my favorite anti-depressants. I's hard to be mad at the world when watching ruby rose (the character who took all that harm in my example) struggle to bake cookies, finally succeed against all odds, and find she made them too big to dunk in milk....

So the question remains: how do you make PCs capable of withstanding the punishment this setting dishes out when generic NPCs and monster can't? (Significant NPCs, of course, are just as durable as player-characters).

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I would start with SIZ+CON hit points and ridiculous amounts of Armor vs. kinetic attacks.  That way characters can survive outrageous physical punishment and keep going.  Throw in some Defense levels to increase their likelihood of avoiding attacks -- "You just missed me!"  If I remember correctly, the RBWY crew are pretty acrobatic as well as tough.

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... and maybe some powers from Superworld or derived parts of the BGB ...

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Semblances would be a function of Powers. Things like Phyrra's "polarity"  manipulation is a prime example. While not at the level of, say, Magneto, she is able to do interesting magnetism tricks (including one that went a LOT farther than she had intended). Other people have semblances that defy definition. (One example is Velvet, from the experienced "Team CFVY", who built a camera that enables her to duplicate the appearance and effect of any weapon or set of weapons she manages to get a "picture" of, even if it was hidden or not in use when she took the image.)

for Senechal's question, it may take a while. If someone had a spreadsheet for making Superworld characters that can be modified somewhat, that would help a lot.

 

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Ruby Rose, Huntress in Training

STR 11

CON 14

SIZ 5

INT 10

POW 8

DEX 17

APP 10

Move:  10

Damage Bonus:  -1D4

Hits:  19 (CON+SIZ)

Armor:  7 kinetic, 4 cold, 4 heat (she’s just that tough!)

Attacks:  Scythe 65%, 2D6+1+DB; Rifle 60%, 2D6+4; Brawl 70%, 1D3+DB+4

Skills:  Climb 40%, Craft (Weaponry) 60%, Dodge 65%, Jump 60%, Listen 60%, Parry 65%, Spot 60%, Track 45%

Powers:

Unarmed Combat (2 levels) – +4 points damage in combat, 4 points Armor to limbs while parrying attacks, -10% to be hit, +10% to Brawl

Defense (15 levels) – -75% against all attacks

Leap (5 levels) – +10 meters horizontal or +5 meters vertical to Jump

Super Skill (3 levels) – +20% to Scythe, Craft and Parry

Armor – 7 kinetic, 4 cold, 4 heat

Failings:  Socially awkward (+2), dependent sister (+1), responsibility to the academy (+3)

Notes:  Characteristics were randomly rolled per the Big Gold Book.  Power points for super powers were characteristic total plus 6 for Failings (total 81).  None of Ruby Rose’s powers require energy to use.  Normally superheroes get 500 skill points, but since Ruby is an underage schoolgirl I started her out with the more usual 250 for profession (Hunter) plus 100 for INTx10 personal skills.

Write-up based on the first episode of RWBY.  So we have an agile but otherwise normal and rather shy teeny-bopper.  No overt super powers.  Except she’s spent grade school and middle school in the equivalent of a military academy and is really, disgustingly good at what she does.

Ruby's scythe/rifle, though unique and custom-made by its owner, isn't built as a superpower.  It does the usual damage for both a regular farm implement and a standard bolt-action rifle (and the gun part uses off-the-shelf ammunition).  Despite its impressive size and appearance presumably anyone who could get it away from Ruby could eventually figure out how to use it.

Also, I didn't invest points in Martial Arts skill, the benefits of which are murky.  Plain old Brawl plus the Unarmed Combat power are much more direct and have specific effects and benefits.

Edited by seneschal
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Whether the rifle uses standard ammunition depends on what you consider "standard". Ruby's ammunition, and a lot of other weapons (Yang's wrist guns and the ranged attacks Weiss makes with her sword are other examples), is powered with a pseudo-magical mineral substance known as "Dust", which has a variety of applications. Theoretically Ruby can, with training and the right ammo, do various tricks with her rifle. She is still young and inexperienced, though. With time what she can do will become more versatile.

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The point isn't the ammo but whether BRP can accurately model the characters you enjoy on the screen.  I think it can imitate the way Ruby bounces around in combat like Spider-Man on too much Redbull.  But your earlier concerns about lethality are legit.  Both the blade and the rifle parts of Rose's weapon do 2D+ damage, enough to shred Roman Torchwick's street thugs (on the show she knocks them around but does no serious harm) but maybe not enough against the monsters she will battle in later episodes.

i think I know how I would handle things with Champions but BRP was designed to have brutal, deadly combat.  Try running the write-up against both some human foes and some lower level fantasy monsters and see how things pan out.

Edited by seneschal
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18 hours ago, seneschal said:

The point isn't the ammo but whether BRP can accurately model the characters you enjoy on the screen.  I think it can imitate the way Ruby bounces around in combat like Spider-Man on too much Redbull.  But your earlier concerns about lethality are legit.  Both the blade and the rifle parts of Rose's weapon do 2D+ damage, enough to shred Yang's street thugs (on the show she knocks them around but does no serious harm) but maybe not enough against the monsters she will battle in later episodes.

i think I know how I would handle things with Champions but BRP was designed to have brutal, deadly combat.  Try running the write-up against both some human foes and some lower level fantasy monsters and see how things pan out.

Superworld has plenty of Resistances, and Armor for just such an emergency. Things can also be crafted so that attacks are much more comic-booky than things in BRP regularly appear. 

You could craft the Rifle so that you have reduced or no chance to crit, so just base kinetic damage of 2d6 if you wanted. Or, you could buy it as stun, etc. If you wanted, you could even buy different types of "ammo" that attack with different types of Energy. The same with the sword.

The only real limiting factor to what you can craft is based upon the number of Hero Points that the GM assigns at the outset (if actually using Superworld) and any restrictions upon the powers themselves.

SDLeary

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It is right about now that my dependency on PC-based tools to model and format character sheets can be a real burden. I'm thinking of seeing if I can try my hand at modeling a few characters to see how they work out, and I'm having trouble wrapping my head around them.

One thing is that even bad guys can be hard to kill. Take Roman Torchwick. Torchwick is a bad guy with a sense of style, but don't let his foppish exterior cause you to underestimate him -- because you won't be making too many more such mistakes if you do. He is very cunning, his cunning matched only by his enormous ego. His cane is a gun, which is pretty much standard for that type of gun except that he can carry it everywhere without it calling attention to its nature. (Of course he likes being noticed everywhere he goes, because he thinks he's that cool.) He's very good at organizing armed robberies in particular, also trying his hand at smuggling and swindling. His ego turned out to be his downfall, as he would spent so much time rubbing his enemies' noses in their defeat that he doesn't necessarily notice what's coming up behind him.

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On 6/1/2018 at 5:08 PM, SDLeary said:

You could craft the Rifle so that you have reduced or no chance to crit, so just base kinetic damage of 2d6 if you wanted. Or, you could buy it as stun, etc. If you wanted, you could even buy different types of "ammo" that attack with different types of Energy. The same with the sword.

The only real limiting factor to what you can craft is based upon the number of Hero Points that the GM assigns at the outset (if actually using Superworld) and any restrictions upon the powers themselves.

I'd say the weapons are pretty deadly -- after all, these weapons take down big, tough monsters with single shots, and these monsters are no pushovers. It's just that the PCs are so incredibly tough that they can survive what they dish out. Ruby Rose's scythe is plenty lethal when used on monsters, but can also be used in non-lethal tournament fights (both as the rifle and as the scythe) because the people she is fighting with them have a reasonable chance of surviving because they're less vulnerable. Much is made about certain characters' shock when the find the tactics they use in tournament fights suddenly show off their lethality.

I'll have to go through the monster books to see if there are things approaching Beowolfs in them. (Beowulfs are the grunts among the monstrous Grimm -- they're all over the place, and more than capable of tearing apart non-combatants and untrained fighters.)

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9 hours ago, Michael Hopcroft said:

I'd say the weapons are pretty deadly -- after all, these weapons take down big, tough monsters with single shots, and these monsters are no pushovers. It's just that the PCs are so incredibly tough that they can survive what they dish out. Ruby Rose's scythe is plenty lethal when used on monsters, but can also be used in non-lethal tournament fights (both as the rifle and as the scythe) because the people she is fighting with them have a reasonable chance of surviving because they're less vulnerable. Much is made about certain characters' shock when the find the tactics they use in tournament fights suddenly show off their lethality.

I'll have to go through the monster books to see if there are things approaching Beowolfs in them. (Beowulfs are the grunts among the monstrous Grimm -- they're all over the place, and more than capable of tearing apart non-combatants and untrained fighters.)

Look at Power Advantages and Power Disadvantages. This is where you can really tailor things.

SDLeary

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You could also look at Superworld and the old Villains & Vigilantes game for inspiration. In both of those RPGs characters could shift some of the damage they took to Energy Points instead of Hit Points. So if you were using BRPs energy pool for supers and let the players port over some, most, or all of the damage taken  to energy points a PC could then shrug off a few hits. 

I'd suggest that the minimum weapon damage must be taken as hit points and the rest as energy. That way a PC who is shot still takes some damage., just they are a bit weakened (lower obn energy) than hurt. 

 

The nice thing about using energy points to soak damage is that it also covers you when a PC ends up taking some sort of damage that they don't have any protection against. In typical BRP, thats a kill, but if the PC has 100 energy points to soak damage with, it's just a life lesson. 

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I like that idea. It may reflect why someone would stage a martial arts tournament for college students who are armed with guns, swords, guns that are also swords, swords that are also guns, sonic-blasting trumpets, and other such weaponry that they normally use to kill monsters in large numbers. There are n changes to either weaponry or tactics, but the effect on characters is different in that you're not trying to kill them. In fact, at the tournament a great deal is made about one of the main girls breaking the leg of an opponent and being disqualified in consequence. And she "did it" using weapons that in standard use can blow people's heads off.

There should be some set of circumstances that prevent the character friom shifting damage to EP and force them to take the Hit Point damage. A complete surprise attack when you have absolutely no awareness of what is about to happen sounds like a good way to explain things that happen in the series (the character I mentioned in the start of the thread probably would not have taken that arrow if she had seen it coming).

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Roman Torchwick is sort of like The Riddler in that he is fun to watch in the comics or on the screen but hard to model in RPG terms.  Sure, he's stylish, witty and good at organizing and leading his goons.  But in game mechanics he's just an ordinary guy with a concealed trick gun.  If Ruby Rose (or Robin the Boy Wonder) could ever catch him alone in an enclosed area they would mop the floor with him.  He needs his henchmen, his hidden escape vehicle and his allies who possess actual powers to deal with skilled do-gooders.  A raw write up wouldn't do him (or The Riddler) justice.

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I think that both V&V and Superworld had some sort of called shot rule to bypass EP.  You could use the standard BRP called shot with the idea of calling to do hit point damage instead of picking hit location.  I think that approach might be better than surprise, since there might be a lot of times where it could crop and and wipe out a PC or two (pit traps, bomb through the window, poisoned food). With a called shot it's more controlled because it has to be a deliberate action, so you won't have a PC getting axes by a mook who pops up and rolls lucky.  The only thing is that you might have to cone up with a reason why the PCs don't do it. In a Supers RPG the good guys don't kill  the bad guys if they can help it.. 

You could even cap how much damage could be shifted to EP in one hit (say CON or POW) if you wanted some big damage stuff (TNT, tank guns, torpedoes, field artillery, dragons with a +9D6 db) to still be a serious threat. 

 

Oh, and if you wanted to stage non-lethal matches,  you could have someone who runs out of EP be knocked unconscious. Basically you treat Energy Points like ol' D&D hit points. 

Edited by Atgxtg
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Ok, here's a rough take on Roman Torchwick, cocky gang leader associated with various forces threatening the world of Remnant:

Roman Torchwick, Gangster

STR 11

CON 11

SIZ 12

INT 12

POW 12

DEX 12

APP 11

Move:  10

Hits:  23 (CON+SIZ)

Damage Bonus:  +0

Armor:  None

Attacks:  Brawl 51%, 1d3+db; Cane 51%, 1d6+db; Rifle 46%, 2d10+4

Skills:  Bargain 31%, Command 31%, Dodge 50%, Fast Talk 31%, Fine Manipulation 31%, Hide 36%, Insight 31%, Jump 31%, Parry 51%, Persuade 41%, Pilot (Airship) 27%, Sleight of Hand 31%, Snarky Repartee 60%, Stealth 36%, Strategy 30%, Swagger 80%

Notes:  Characteristics were randomly rolled.  I gave Torchwick heroic level skill points (325) plus INTx10 (120) personal skill points, total 445.

In addition to acting as a sniper rifle, the scoundrel's cane can fire explosive rounds, but I didn't have time to figure out how to model that.

Edited by seneschal
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I would bump up his INT and APP: he's a very good planner and is sufficiently charismatic to convinced fanatics that enriching him promotes their cause. That could also mean higher scores in Command and Persuade for those very reasons -- but he uses a lot of situation modifiers to his advantage.

 

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And there have been occasions where they have explored how these characters escape death when going at each other with devastating weapons. Apparently they have "energy bars" that when used in combat resemble the health bars in video games like the Street Fighter series. Death is out of the equation until that is exhausted. Fighters in combat tend to know when they are approaching the last gasp, and will use whatever opportunity they can take to rebuild their pool. The more experienced or gifted you are, the larger your pool and the harder you will be to take down.

Incidentally, this may be how you model the fighting game genre in a system where combat is so deadly -- if you're trained and experienced, a hurricane of kicks from Chun-Li is only burdensome, but if she were to unleash it on some random thug with no powers or experience she'd break every vertebrate in his entire spine and reduce hos brain to something you can pour out of his skull through his nose....

Edited by Michael Hopcroft

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On 6/7/2018 at 3:44 PM, Michael Hopcroft said:

I would bump up his INT and APP: he's a very good planner and is sufficiently charismatic to convinced fanatics that enriching him promotes their cause. That could also mean higher scores in Command and Persuade for those very reasons -- but he uses a lot of situation modifiers to his advantage.

 

We might have gotten there automatically if I had rolled better.  But never fear, Superworld (or the BGB) gives us a way to fudge.  I'd already given Torchwick heroic level skill points.  Let's allow him heroic level super power build points, which would be 12 based on his highest unmodified characteristic.  Next, a couple Failings:  Responsible to criminal organization +3, and Overconfident +2.  With those 17 points we can give Roman +4 INT, +2 SIZ and +5 APP, boosting him to a notable (but still within normal limits) 16 for INT and APP and SIZ 14.  The boost also gives +1d4 damage bonus, bumps his Hit Points to 25, and an additional 40 personal skill points to play with.  He would have been arrogant and under the thumb of his villainous bosses anyway but the Failings give mechanical support for those traits.

Edited by seneschal
Correct math
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9 minutes ago, seneschal said:

We might have gotten there automatically if I had rolled better.  But never fear, Superworld (or the BGB) gives us a way to fudge.  I'd already given Torchwick heroic level skill points.  Let's allow him heroic level super power build points, which would be 12 based on his highest unmodified characteristic.  Next, a couple Failings:  Responsible to criminal organization +3, and Overconfident +2.  With those 15 points we can give Roman +4 INT and +5 APP, boosting him to a notable (but still within normal limits) 16 for both characteristics.  The boost also gives him an additional 40 personal skill points to play with.  He would have been arrogant and under the thumb of his villainous bosses anyway but the Failing give mechanical support for those traits.

I like that. His arrogance and his subservient status combine nicely. If his one direct interaction with Cinder that we saw onscreen, it was clear that he resented having to be obedient to her. Clearly he would have preferred to be the one in charge and setting the overall goal (of making him rich and important) rather than having to be a cog in a plan whose goal he has not been told and does not understand.

Torchwick is uninterested in world conquest. He just wants to be rich, powerful, feared, and respected. He has sufficient respect for Cinder to take heat off her when the first Battle of Vale goes against her,. but Cinder was playing a long game on behalf of her controller and Torchwick does not have the patience for long games.

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Another character who probably has normal stats but would be interesting to play in a campaign is Weiss Schnee's (step?)father, Jacques Schnee. He is a very easy man to hate -- when he re-enters her life he views her only as a tool to make the Schnee Dust Company look better, using her as a begging prop to let him pretend to care about Vale. When that doesn't work (because Weiss is offended by the attitudes of the rich, powerful people her father was trying to impress) he disinherits her and places her effectively under house arrest. Evidently he had done something fairly similar to the elder daughter Winter, naming his own son as the heir.

Statistics for him would be unneeded -- he's not a guy you'll take on in combat (too rich and important), and his power comes from wealth and influence. He doesn't care so much about being despised as he does about being economically fearsome. He also has nothing approaching scruples or ethics, and is utterly incapable of any sort of empathy. If you are his enemy, he can make your life utterly miserable and you can't really do anything about it. If you are his friend, you are but one tiny misstep away from becoming his enemy.

Edited by Michael Hopcroft

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Been researching the Grimm, the family of supernatural monsters threatening human and human-derived life in the world of Remnant.  These creatures consist of sub-species that are vaguely analogous to various animals.  But the Grimm are not animals.  They don't need to eat (although they enjoy devouring people and settlements), are effectively immortal unless slain, grow for as long as they live, and can gradually acquire sentience through long experience.  The older a creature is, the bigger, tougher and smarter it tends to be.

Grimm gather in packs near human habitations, seeking opportunity to ambush lone residents or to attack en mass.  Oddly enough, they don't molest wild animals and livestock, only people.  The monsters, whatever their form, tend to have armored skull-like heads, glowing red eyes, and black body covering (fur, feathers, hide).  In addition to being generously endowed with teeth and claws, Grimm frequently sport sharp spikes or spines growing from random portions of their anatomy.  it isn't clear where the monsters come from or whether they reproduce or need to.  Upon death, slain Grimms' bodies dissipate leaving no remains to study or to use for food or clothing.

The most commonly encountered type of Grimm , popularly known as a "Beowulf," is a lupine biped roughly the size of a North American brown bear.  It is surprisingly agile despite its slouching stance and shambling gait.

Edited by seneschal
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There are a lot of different types. But the Grimm are certainly of supernatural origin. I wonder whether the planet that Remnant is on actively hostile towards humans and Faunus and Grimm are its way to get rid of them (sort of like an antibody fighting a disease). If this is the case, then Dust use and technology are all that prevent both Humans and Faunus from being on a prolonged march towards extinction.

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Oh, and a little more research has given me more of a grasp on Huntsman reduced vulnerability.

There's a power called Semblance acquired by people who use Dust-based powers regularly and usually extended in training (liek at beacon or one of the other academies). Semblance translated into a force called Aura that absorbs damage and prevents it from penetrating to the user until it is all ablated away. If you have a strong Aura, you can take a gunshot to the head and live. when you're out, even the most prosaic of normal weapons can be lethal. Grimm have a similar resistance naturally, and the larger a Grimm is the harder it is to kill.

Think it as a sort of a ablative pool of Hit Points that takes the place of your own Hit Points until exhausted. And training isn't the only thing that affects how big an Aura Pool you have. Ruby Rose is such a strong natural talent that she can take that combination of blows and gunshots. Anyone else would have died, even another Huntsman. And likewise the more powerful Grimm (particularly the enormous ones) are enormous targets but it's hard to actually hurt them.

Now, how do we determine the relative strength of characters' Aura Points?

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