Yesterday, I’d planned on taking Dynamo to gaming and doing a play test. By yesterday afternoon, however, it was clear that all I’d really had in cohesive form was a set of mechanics. Character creation was lacking as I’ve still not completely defined what the characters are actually supposed to be.
Although we didn’t play, however, we did do a Q&A on my ideas and, much like with our play tests of Vihara, talking about the game out loud with my players helped me weigh the pros and cons of different ways to do things. It gave me a bit of focus and helped me reshift my thinking toward the things that are going to make Dynamo different than other games.
I realized that Dynamo heroes will be fairly low-level, more Golden Age style characters. At the same time, I think the narrative format lets you create characters of any power level because they still have to interact with the story in a limited, physical way. I’m not really worried about power gamers trying to make a Supreme; go ahead! If that’s the character you want to play. Just remember you still have to do things in the story and roll dice.
But I’m going to be focusing on physical effect super powers. That means I’m doing away with psychic and magic powers and leaning more towards a philosophy that all super powers are just different forms of mental manipulation of matter – the way super powers work in the Wild Cards books.
This has also helped me strip down the characters from two ability lines, each with their own attack and defense to one attack and one defense per character.
Today I’m working on character templates – this is going to work sort of like D&D character classes, but not quite. My idea is to have a set of options that you can mix together to create most any kind of super hero. You pick a type of character you want to play – your type sets your base attack and defense and some modify your Pluck as well. Then you pick a secondary description that modifies how your power actually works. I’ve been playing around with it this morning to create a few knock-off characters.
Downpour can alter weather in the local area. She uses her summoning ability to create weather effects such as lightning, rain, and wind – all of these can be used as attacks, and the wind gives her the ability to fly.
Secondary: Rechargeable Power
Captain Barnabas has a magical glowing bracer which holds energy for his power which he can use to summon temporary objects such as weapons, vehicles, even giant hands. Barnabas has a hurricane lamp on his ship which helps him focus his powers during meditation to recharge the bracer.
Eric the Red
Type: Weapon Specialist
Eric the Red is a giant, hairy, berserker viking with a massive braided beard and horned helmet. He carries a massive battle axe called Torrblot which he can throw at his enemies and it always returns to his hand.
Secondary: Activated Power
Rhodes is a colossal man, easily seven feet tall. When he activates his power, his skin becomes as dense as bronze, complete with a lovely speckled green patina. Rhodes likes to punch things, and is strong enough to throw smaller heroes at enemies.
Night Squirrel has a flowing cape of squirrel fur which allows him to glide short distances. He uses this ability to drop down from rooftops onto unsuspecting criminal types to beat the crap out of them. He carries an array of “nuts”, which are small metal canisters he keeps on a bandolier. Each nut has a different effect – some contain knockout gas, some explode into nets.
The hard part is deciding which abilities count as primary and which as secondary. I need to balance that so that powerful abilities can’t be paired together.
If you’re following the public Dynamo document, my apologies. A lot of what I’m working on is in my head and not on the document, so things’ll be jumbled until I start making actual sense of the ideas I’ve got.