Vigilance Press Podcast: DC Adventures & M&M3 Interview

The Vigilance Press Podcast guys are at it again! They asked freelancer Leon Chang and Line Developer Jon Leitheusser to come and talk about what’s happening in the world of M&M and DC Adventures. 
The interview covers a lot of ground, from recent releases like the GM’s Kit to where things are at with DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains Volume I (it’s in proofing!) to future releases in the games!

DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains Status Update

Good progress is being made on DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains Volume I
The book is layed out and in the hands of proofreaders both internally and externally! We’re still looking for fewer than 20 pieces of art to replace pieces that weren’t available for whatever reasons. When the proofing is done, we’ll send the book to DC for approval. Once we receive final approval, we’ll release the PDF and send the book to print!
“Final approval” will take an unspecified amount of time. This is a 320-page book and even though DC has seen the contents as a text document, there are still plenty of things for them to look over before they give their approval.
Hopefully the whole process will be short and sweet. No matter what, as soon as we get approval, the PDF will be up for sale!
More updates when they’re available!

Vigilance Press Podcast: DC Adventures Actual Play

The Vigilance Press Podcast guys asked to use some of DC characters for their latest “actual play” podcast. They wanted to use the Teen Titans and chose Cyborg, Blue Beetle, and Red Devil and you can hear how the 2-hour game went here!
They do an excellent job of explaining rules as they come up and even give a peek into how the characters are written up. 
Be on the lookout for more previews and information about DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains, Volume I in the upcoming weeks! Layout of the book is going well and looking great! 

Vigilance Press Podcast: Random Character Generation

All of the books and supplements created for DC Adventures work equally well with the new Mutants & Masterminds game, and vice versa. Coming soon, Green Ronin will release a GM Kit, which includes a screen with useful charts for the GM, beautiful artwork on the other side, and a booklet that contains a “Quickstart Character Generator.” That last thing should be particularly useful to new DC Adventures players because with only a few d20 rolls you can create a new character!
Mike Lafferty and James Dawsey of Vigilance Press were joined by freelancer Jack Norris to test out the Quickstart Character Generator included in the GM Kit. The results were three playable and interesting characters — all created in less than an hour. They also do a great job of explaining how the tables can be used to create 20 different archetypes, each with tons of variation!

Vigilance Press Podcast: DC Adventures and M&M Releases

Mike Lafferty and James Dawsey interviewed Heroes & Villains contributing writer Christopher McGlothlin and DC Adventures Line Developer Jon Leitheusser about upcoming releases for both Mutants & Masterminds and DC Adventures. 

Heroes & Villains Design Journal #1: Deadman

By Steven Trustrum

Putting Off-the-Wall Characters and Powers
Under the Microscope

It’s not every day a writer finds himself assigned a job quite
so interesting as cobbling together character stats for the likes of a talking
gorilla in love with a brain in a fish bowl, or an interstellar mercenary with
a weapon that can cut through just about anything (including reality), but
that’s the situation I found myself in while working on DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains, Volume I. As
you’d expect, unusual characters make for unusual power builds, and so I was
faced with some… creative… and fun complications while approaching this
assignment.

Expectedly, there are always challenges when working with a new
game system, and DC Adventures was
no different. Having written plenty of material for previous editions of the
rules upon which this system is based, I came into the project with certain
expectations and habits regarding power construction, but I immediately found
many of these preconceptions no longer applied. The increasingly modular,
“toolbox” approach to power building provided by the DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook took some getting used
to, accustomed as I was to the pre-built power constructs used in previous
editions, but I quickly found my footing and even the unusual power concepts
some of my assigned characters demanded ended up flowing from the new rules
rather easily.

Deadman, by way of
example, certainly qualifies as an oddball character with the potential for
tripping up a designer operating within a new and not entirely familiar system.
When first approaching the task of writing this ghostly character, I found
myself scratching my head over his ability to possess people by displacing
their minds and walking around in their bodies. Although previous editions of
the rules presented a Possession power that would have fit the bill, the DC Adventures‘ rules contained no such
animal for me to work with. I therefore approached the task by breaking the
concept down to its core elements; by figuring out the crux of what the power
was meant to do I believed I would find the solution to merging concept and
game mechanics into a satisfying result.

I began with the realization that a ghost entering a living
host in order to possess it was merely an ethereal (no joke intended) concept
wrapped around the ability to take command of someone else’s body, and so the
control aspect rather than that of possession was the perspective from which I
decided to approach the task. The fact that it was an incorporeal, invisible
ghost slipping on someone else’s skin like a new suit wasn’t really relevant to
how I needed to build the power. Once I understood the new rules accommodated
such a fluid approach to power building, I found their avoidance of nailing
everything down in a unique and separate power to be rather liberating, and the
possession ability I believed would be complicated became incredibly simple.

Because this power was tied to Deadman‘s phantom state,
however, I found it only natural to first construct his spectral body, an
aspect of the character existing independently of his ability to possess
people. Designing this power required combining a number of elements, resulting
in a somewhat expensive power, which I called “Spectral Form,” that
fit the bill rather handily.

Spectral Form:
Insubstantial 4 (Intangible; Not versus magic), Continuous, Innate, Permanent;
Concealment 10 (All Senses), Continuous, Permanent; Flight 4 (30 MPH); Immunity
30 (Fortitude Effects); Senses 4 (Vision Counters Invisibility, Auditory
Counters Spiritual Concealment), Dimensional, Limited to Spirits/Astral
Entities • 83 points

As you can see, Insubstantial covers his walking through walls,
Concealment accounts for his invisibility, and Flight is… well… his ability
to fly around like a ghost. His Immunity covers the full spectrum of just about
anything one would associate with no longer being alive, such as the need to
sleep or eat, whereas his Senses power represents being able to see other
ghosts and the like, even if they are not fully on the same plane of existence
― but doesn’t allow him to see a living person who’s invisible. DC Adventures allows all the component
powers to be presented under a single entry, “Spectral Form,” a handy design
policy that makes power building much easier and far more thematic. This format
also helps impose a context that translates into an easy-to-read,
understandable presentation that makes good sense.

Having decided how I would represent Deadman’s ghostly
state, I moved on to the ability I initially thought would give me the most
trouble: his possession power. Truly, the whole process became much more
straightforward once I decided not make it a direct aspect of his Spectral
Form. Once this conceptual decision was made, the actual write-up came easily.

Possession:
Affliction 10 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Compelled, Controlled), Affects
Corporeal 10, Concentration, Cumulative, Insidious, Instant Recovery, Subtle 2,
Limited to creatures with Int -3 or higher, Limited–Cannot access target’s
thoughts or memories • 18 points

The broad spectrum of possibilities now covered by the
wide-ranging Affliction power (in my opinion, perhaps the most adaptable and
useful effect in the game) easily handled the controlling nature of Deadman’s
possessing ability, whereas the simplified power modifier system took care of
the remaining details. Because Affliction allows you to choose the conditions
you wish to apply at each degree of success, I was allowed the exact result I
was looking for in that regard, while Insidious and Subtle combined to
represent the subject’s inability to recall that he had been possessed. Add in
the Instant Recovery flaw from the Affliction power along with Deadman’s inability to access his host
body’s memory and voila!

Once accustomed to the DC
Adventures
‘ system, I found there wasn’t a need to pin everything down
within the confines of rules, as the system naturally allowed the concept to
wrap around the mechanics without fuss, thus completing how the end user views
the power in a way that is both effortless to understand and easy to implement
during actual play.

Deadman                                 PL10

Abilities

Strength        2                  Fighting         2

Stamina          3                  Intellect       1

Agility            6                  Awareness    6

Dexterity       5                  Presence        4

Powers

Possession:
Affliction 10 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Compelled, Controlled), Affects
Corporeal 10, Concentration, Cumulative, Insidious, Instant Recovery, Subtle 2,
Limited to creatures with Int -3 or higher, Limited — Cannot access target’s
thoughts or memories • 18 points

Spectral Form:
Insubstantial 4 (Not versus Magic), Continuous, Innate, Permanent; Concealment
10, Continuous, Permanent; Flight 4 (30 MPH); Immunity 30 (Fortitude Effects);
Senses 4 (Vision Counters Invisibility, Auditory Counters Spiritual
Concealment), Dimensional, Limited to Spirits/Astral Entities • 83 points

Advantages

Connected, Defensive Roll 5, Luck 3, Power Attack, Skill
Mastery 2 (Acrobatics, Athletics)

Skills

Acrobatics 6 (+12), Athletics 6 (+8), Close Combat: Unarmed 6
(+8), Close Combat: Possession 8 (+10), Expertise: Magic 2 (+3), Expertise:
Supernatural 4 (+5), Investigation 4 (+5), Perception 4 (+10), Persuasion 2
(+6)

Offense

Initiative +6

Possession +10                  Close, Affliction 10

Unarmed +X*                     Close, Damage X*

*Depends on Fgt and Str of body possessed.

Defense

Dodge               10               Fortitude          Immune

Parry                 5                  Toughness       8/3**

                                                Will                    8

**Without
Defensive Roll

Power Points

Abilities          58                Skills                21

Powers          101                Defenses           9

Advantages
  
12                Total           201

Complications

Spiritual Responsibilities:
As a spirit in service to Rama Kushna, Deadman is frequently
called upon to perform “other-worldly” duties, such as guiding other spirits to
their final rest and defending the living against supernatural evils.

***

Join us next time as Christopher McGlothlin takes a look at the challenges of updating some classic older characters from the Golden and Silver Age!

 All characters, their distinctive likenesses, and related
elements are trademarks of DC Comics © 2011. All rights reserved.

DC Adventures in the New Year

The DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook has been out for a while now and we’re at work on DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains, Volume I. The holidays slowed things down, which was expected, but then we were surprised by a long and bad illness by the people actually supplying us with the art from the DC archives. 
As of last week, we have about two-thirds of the art — much of which was suggested by the fans over on our DC Adventures forum — with more on the way this week. The book is being layed out, looks good, and we’ll have updates and previews coming as soon as we can!
In January, we released the errata for the DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook and also posted an updated PDF to the Green Ronin store. If you purchased the book from Green Ronin and haven’t downloaded the newest version, head to your account page in the store and you should be able to get the revised file!
In the coming weeks, we’ll have some more design journals written by contributors to the Heroes & Villains volumes. They’ll feature some thoughts by the designers on challenges they faced while designing characters as well as character write-ups!
As for the other books in the DC Adventures line, Heroes & Villains Volume II is in development now, so we’re going to start collecting art for that soon! And the writers are wrapping up their work on DC Adventures: Universe this week! 

DC Adventures Developer Update

It’s been a while since our last update about where things stand on the various DC Adventures releases, but things are progressing well. Here’s where things stand:
DC Adventures: Heroes & Villains, Volume I: This is still in production and looking good. The PDF will be out sometime after we ring in the new year. You’ll start seeing some previews for this again soon!
DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook Errata: This is done, but I’m making sure everything we find in the M&M Hero’s Handbook (which is almost out of production) is likewise addressed in the DC errata if it needs to be. When we’ve finalized the M&M book, I’ll post this errata. That should be very soon. My guess (and it’s only a guess) is you’ll see this on Monday sometime.
So, you have some good stuff to look forward to in the next few weeks — and even more in the months ahead because the second volume of Heroes & Villains is in the works and the DC Adventures: Universe is being written as I write this!

Where Things Stand on DC Adventures and Heroes & Villains Vol. I

It’s been a while since I’ve had news to report on DC Adventures and Heroes & Villains Volume I, and I wanted to keep you in the loop now that I have something.

First off, thank you for your patience. We’ve run into a few behind-the-scenes bumps and those have delayed both the release of DC Adventures errata and news about Heroes & Villains.
As for DC Adventures errata; it’s compiled and Steve and I are going over it to make sure it includes everything it ought to. Unsurprisingly, we’d like it to be as accurate as possible. I hope to have it up in the next two weeks. Sooner if I can manage it. Big kudos to Glenn Hall for all his hard work on organizing the errata. He’s the MVP on this particular project.
Then, Heroes & Villains Volume I; first I wanted to officially thank everyone who contributed to the art request thread! Your contributions were fantastic and are appreciated greatly! Secondly, our editors at DC have been very thorough on their read-through of the manuscript, which took time — and considering it was over 500 pages, that’s not too shocking. In addition, you may have seen DC recently when through some reorganization. That was handled very well, but slowed us down a bit. 
However! Things are moving along quite well now and the book is headed into production very soon. You should start seeing some previews and news about the book soon!
I’ll post news as soon as I have it.

DC Adventures Review on Gamer’s Haven Podcast

We sent Ethan Parker a copy of DC Adventures while it was still just a Word document — then sent him a copy of the PDF when it was available — so he could familiarize himself with it for some interviews we did recently.
Then he went and decided to write and record a review of it.