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Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

Posted by Snicker
Snicker
member, 2 posts
Wed 8 Nov 2023
at 05:13
  • msg #1

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

I may be interested in running Palladium's Nightbane. This isn't an interest check, I just want some feedback and input into my ideas.

It would start on Dark Day and progress from there, but I'd diverge from the standard in the following ways:
  • Less random character generation. Each player can give their nightbane two morphus traits of their choice, with the possibility of weaker traits counting as "half". Pick whatever you want, but I'd want some justification as to its psychological roots. I don't care if this makes the PCs more powerful - I can always just run tougher fights - as long as all the players are roughly equal in power. Aesthetics are free; if you want green skin, you don't need to take the Unusual Skin Color trait, you can just have green skin (but you will need that trait to get the +1 to your Horror Factor).

  • Probably some way to pick, or at least have more control over, attribute scores. I don't even know how I'd do this yet.

  • We start with content from the Nightbane books and pull in things from elsewhere in the megaverse on a case-by-case basis. Do you want your character to be good at ice skating? By default, you can take Athletics and call it ice skating, but if you want, we can also look into the Ice Skating skill from Rifts Canada - but no guarantees.

  • Tonally, I'd lean into the splatterpunk, "dark superhero" interpretation. The setting would be a little less bleak and the Nightlords' control a little less complete, but the it might be a little more of a dark urban fantasy kitchen sink - pulling in content from Beyond the Supernatural and other sources, for example.

What are people's thoughts on this sort of Nightbane game?
Ramidel
member, 1412 posts
Err on the side
of awesome.
Wed 8 Nov 2023
at 06:02
  • msg #2

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

Ah, the endless joy of being someone who likes Palladium's settings but doesn't like random rolling everything (which Kevin Siembieda thinks is fun, and demands that everyone else think is fun too by making it difficult to houserule around the randomness). I suffer from this affliction too, so you're not alone.

You can simply ask your players to give you the attributes they want. Or, if you want to allow for some swinginess, here's one way to do it that I've seen: "Roll 4d4+6* and drop the lowest d4, then assign stats, and take something like 80% of any random rolls that skills force on you."

It's a pain in the neck to do, but good luck! I'd definitely recommend allowing Beyond the Supernatural content as well as Nightbane. (Heroes Unlimited feels like it might be a little out of genre, though it could obviously work.)
Siran
member, 179 posts
Wed 8 Nov 2023
at 07:02
  • msg #3

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

I have to say that I detest random attributes. I have rolled much better than average (I once had 4 18s in a d20 game) and much worse, and both of those outcomes spoil my enjoyment of the game. I no longer play in games in which there are random attributes.

The simplest approach for me is that the GM gives you a handful of numbers, and the players can pick whichever they want.
For example (I did no thinking on these numbers just wrote them as an example)
  • 18,14,12,12,10,8
  • 16,16,16,12,10,8
  • 14,14,14,14,14,12
  • ...


I also quite like Beyond the Supernatural and Heroes unlimited. The Ninjas and superspies and the Chinese supplement to that content is fantastic and I'd consider looking at that too if you were going beyond just Nightbane.
Snicker
member, 3 posts
Wed 8 Nov 2023
at 15:21
  • msg #4

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

Ramidel:
Ah, the endless joy of being someone who likes Palladium's settings but doesn't like random rolling everything (which Kevin Siembieda thinks is fun, and demands that everyone else think is fun too by making it difficult to houserule around the randomness). I suffer from this affliction too, so you're not alone.

You can simply ask your players to give you the attributes they want. Or, if you want to allow for some swinginess, here's one way to do it that I've seen: "Roll 4d4+6* and drop the lowest d4, then assign stats, and take something like 80% of any random rolls that skills force on you."

Siran:
I have to say that I detest random attributes. I have rolled much better than average (I once had 4 18s in a d20 game) and much worse, and both of those outcomes spoil my enjoyment of the game. I no longer play in games in which there are random attributes.

The simplest approach for me is that the GM gives you a handful of numbers, and the players can pick whichever they want.
For example (I did no thinking on these numbers just wrote them as an example)
  • 18,14,12,12,10,8
  • 16,16,16,12,10,8
  • 14,14,14,14,14,12
  • ...


Both of these techniques are solid. I've also seen alternative attribute rolling methods in Dead Reign that provide some randomness, but still allow players to effectively pre-choose what their characters will be good at. These alternative methods basically guarantee that at least one stat will be in the 20s, which means everyone gets to add those yummy bonuses for a 16+ stat to something.

Frankly, I'm torn between controlled randomness and simply removing the random element altogether.

Ramidel:
I'd definitely recommend allowing Beyond the Supernatural content as well as Nightbane. (Heroes Unlimited feels like it might be a little out of genre, though it could obviously work.)

Siran:
I also quite like Beyond the Supernatural and Heroes unlimited. The Ninjas and superspies and the Chinese supplement to that content is fantastic and I'd consider looking at that too if you were going beyond just Nightbane.


I wouldn't have a problem with allowing BtS or N&SS options for players, except I worry that such players wouldn't be able to keep up with a nightbane in combat (which will be a big factor for a splatterpunk-style game). BtS and N&SS characters will have more (and better) skills than the Nightbane, but I fear that creates a game where every character has nothing useful to do for 50% of the time. Heroes Unlimited characters can probably keep up on both sides, but I worry if they'll hurt the tone.

That said, I've played very little of HU or N&SS, so I have a poor understanding of their combat abilities.
Snicker
member, 4 posts
Wed 8 Nov 2023
at 15:39
  • msg #5

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

...though for the record, I'll add that I like the mental image of martial artists fighting Nightbane-style monsters with chi powers and complex hand-to-hand rules. I'm simply pessimistic about whether it'll work.
Siran
member, 180 posts
Wed 8 Nov 2023
at 16:21
  • msg #6

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

Some of the chi powers are full on super powers. Complete with mind control, leaping over buildings and so on

I would probably add martials as options though: there are already rules for doing that with Heros unlimited. I have no idea how that would work with nightbanes

Anyway it's all fun to think about. Just ideas for the GM
Ramidel
member, 1413 posts
Err on the side
of awesome.
Wed 8 Nov 2023
at 16:50
  • msg #7

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

In reply to Snicker (msg # 5):

Given the "strength" of Nightbane's Psychic class, there's no way Ninjas and Superspies characters can be any weaker. :) Jokes aside, they won't be the most powerful fighters, but they'll be able to throw down with the Nightlords' minions. Only issue I have with N&SS is that the chi mechanics are completely unlinked with any other line's game system (and there's no defense against chi combat except for chi abilities) so maybe ban the negative chi attack abilities.

Whether you want the Spook Squad to have access to android operatives and the Resistance to include superpowered mutants who aren't Nightbane is your call.
Snicker
member, 5 posts
Thu 9 Nov 2023
at 17:16
  • msg #8

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

On second thought, maybe incorporating rules from Ninjas and Superspies and other systems will be more headache than it's worth. Every Palladium game puts its own subtle spins on the rules, and Nightbane's core rules being so old means I'd have to provide a lengthy list of house rules and clarifications as it is ("this is what weapons you can apply your PP bonus to," "this is how many attacks you get per round", and so on). I may benefit from keeping things as simple as possible, just to minimize the inevitable confusion.

There's also a benefit just to keeping things tonally consistent. Having one PC out of the group being a human kung fu master is going to be awkward whenever the group has to interact with various Nightbane factions or discuss the 90s angst of being a monster incognito.

I'll still consider allowing players to bring in outside content on a case-by-case basis, but I'll be very judicious about it, and vastly prefer low-impact additions like a skill here or there, rather than more significant changes like chi or new hand-to-hand rules.
This message was last edited by the user at 17:17, Thu 09 Nov 2023.
Ramidel
member, 1414 posts
Err on the side
of awesome.
Fri 10 Nov 2023
at 02:54
  • msg #9

Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

The rules are fairly easy aside from a few corner cases (though chi is a big corner). The question is whether you want it to be about superheroes fighting the darkness or about 90s monster angst. :) flashbacks to crossover WoD games

Whatever you decide, good luck!
Snicker
member, 6 posts
Fri 10 Nov 2023
at 14:19
  • msg #10

Re: Thoughts on my Nightbane game concept?

Ramidel:
The question is whether you want it to be about superheroes fighting the darkness or about 90s monster angst. :) flashbacks to crossover WoD games

Heh, can't it be both? ;) I was explaining this concept elsewhere and ended up summing up my idea as "Imagine player characters from every World of Darkness line teaming up and forming the X-Men" - my thoughts specifically being that the X-Men:
  • were a gaggle of interesting freaks
  • fought a variety of foes, including but not limited to mutant-specific foes like Sentinels and other mutants
  • tended not to suffer "I'm a soulless monster!"-type angst, but had no shortage of "People see me as a soulless monster!" and "My powers have screwed up my life!"-type angst
  • were heroes, despite it all.

That said, the X-Men had the mansion, an invisible jet, a superdupercomputer, and so on, whereas the PCs in my game concept would have whatever money they got from their job at the burger joint.

Anyway, thanks for the well wishes! If you're interested in playing, keep an eye out.
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