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Heroes: the Eclipse (Introduction)

Something is on the way, something frightening and young. Humanity is growing, learning, and transforming. Do you see? We are the vanguard of a world that will never be the same.

Welcome to Heroes: the Eclipse, my 2014 Play-By-Forum Initiative game! I can promise plenty of character-based drama, along with a healthy serving of superpowers. You can consider this as a reference page for the game, a repository of helpful information. I'll make sure it's easy to find any other important places that you need. The table of contents above should point you to the right place.

Rules Summary

In its simplest form, the game looks like this: grab a few dice, and roll them. You add the two highest dice together, and that's your roll. You get dice from a few different places, so you should be rolling at least two at all times, usually more.

The Dice

Depending on your gaming experience, you may or may not be familiar with the various polyhedral dice that are being used in this game. It's not hard to figure out, fortunately: they're just dice with more sides than a typical six-sided die (the one with the pips). Well, except the d4, because it only has four sides.

In the Smallville RPG system, dice are ordered by the number of their sides. You might have to "step up" a die or "step down" a die, and this just means switching it out for a slightly bigger or smaller die. For example, if you step up a d8 (eight-sided die), it becomes a d10 (ten-sided die).

Anatomy of a Lead

Remember when I talked about grabbing a bunch of dice? Your character sheet tells you all of the places you can grab dice from, and it tells you things about your character--what they stand for, what their personality is like, who they hang around, and what they can do. So, let's go down the sections of the character sheet, one at a time.

  • Values are what your character stands for, believes in.
    • Every Value has a die attached to it (a d4 Value is one that's not important to you; a d10 Value is central to your character), and a Value Statement that says what that Value means to you.
    • e.g., d10 Truth: "My secrets are my only strength."
    • When you're rolling dice, add the Value which applies the best to the action you're taking--consider [b]why[/b] your character is doing what they're doing, and that should make it clear.
  • Relationships are your character's connections to other major characters, usually Leads.
    • Every Relationship has a die attached to it (a d4 Relationship isn't very strong, but a d10 Relationship, whether friend or foe, is a powerful fixture in your character's life), and a Relationship Statement that describes the connection.
    • e.g., d6 "Joshua looks out for me."
    • When you're rolling dice because you're doing something against a character or for a character you have a Relationship with, roll the dice for that Relationship. (If both apply, or more than one character fits the category, choose the one that's most important to you for that action!)
  • Resources are the minor allies or locations which help you out sometimes.
    • Every Resource has a die rating and attached Specialties--descriptors like "Information", "Courage", or "Tactics" that describe how the Resource can help you.
    • e.g., 2d8 Street Contacts (Rumors, Resources)
    • When a Resource might come in handy, you can roll its dice and add the highest one to your total, after you've already added the two highest dice in the rest of your pool. Then, you have to step the dice for that Resource down, because it's been used already.
  • Assets are your distinctive features, and can be Distinctions or Abilities.
    • Distinctions are the edges which make you different and unique. They're major facets of your character.
      • Each Distinction has a die attached to it and various triggers--these are either ways to spend Plot Points for specific advantages or to earn Plot Points when the Distinction causes trouble.
      • e.g., d6 Manipulative: Earn a Plot Point and give your opposition a d6 when you ask them to trust you, even if you don't mean it.
    • Abilities are superpowers!
      • Each Ability has a die attached to it and a list of Special Effects--these are ways you can spend a Plot Point to use your power in a scene.
      • e.g., d8 Super-Speed: Spend a Plot Point to...join a scene or switch to a new scene, ignoring distance; catch bullets or other missiles out of the air; run fast enough to cross water as if it were solid ground.
      • Some abilities aren't actually superpowers, but specialized gear. This is less common, though.
    • When you're making a roll, see if you're using any of your Assets. Pick one that you're using, and add its die to your pool!

So, a quick recap on rolling dice. When you're taking an action...

  1. Figure out what Value you're showing off or confronting--why are you taking action? Take the die for that Value.
  2. Figure out what Relationship is involved in the action--who are you doing it for...or against? Take the die for that Relationship.
  3. Figure out if you're leveraging any of your Assets--what is helping you do it? Take the die for that Asset, if one applies. (There won't always be an Asset die.)
  4. Decide if you want to use up a Resource--are you getting help? Roll the dice for that Resource, and set aside the highest-rolling one; it adds to your total.
  5. Roll your normal pool of dice and add the highest two! (If you expended a Resource, add the die from that as well.)

Leads and Supporting Cast

Lead: (Alpha)
Lead: (Beta)
Lead: (Gamma)
Lead: (Delta)

Extra: Antoine Bruce, regular at Last Stand Comedy Club
Extra: Kendra Porter, customer at Mikey's Deli
Extra: Alma Knight, donor to St. Philomena's
Extra: Peggy Morales, fan of Antoine Bruce

Guide to the Pathways Chart (with all the lines and stuff)

The "Pathways Chart" is what I call the picture that shows how all the characters are connected. It's built as characters are created, so you'll get to add to it as well! There's shapes on the chart to represent people and places, and arrows that connect them. Everything is connected, and some people are bound up in the strangest of coincidences...

What the Symbols Mean

  • The squares are Leads: your characters! They're the stars of the game, the protagonists where all the drama centers. Every Lead has a relationship with every other Lead.
  • The circles are Extras: minor characters. They're secondary characters who can appear in the game and offer Leads assistance; they're listed as Resources on your character sheet. When two Leads are connected to an Extra, they get upgraded to a Feature...
  • The double circles are Features: the supporting cast. They're secondary characters who are prominent participants in the drama; you might have Relationships with some of them.
  • The diamonds are Locations: important places in the game. Your character can use them as Resources.
  • The arrows show the connections between characters (and sometimes locations). Many arrows go in one direction, but that'll change as you fill out the characters.

How Pathways works

During character creation, you'll be advancing through several stages. At each stage, you make a specific change to the Pathways map. For example, the Youth stage of Pathways required each character to create a new Location, draw an arrow to it from their character, and then draw another arrow from one of their circles or diamonds to another circle or diamond. I'll explain what you have to do when that stage of character creation comes up--don't worry, we'll all be doing it at once.

When you've settled on a choice, explain what you're doing in the OOC thread, then go to the Pathways Chart and edit it in! If you need to fill out any details (such as explaining the connection between story elements or giving an Extra a name), type that in too.

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