member, 565 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 00:44
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
I have had an idea mulling in my head about a game focusing on a group of higher powered characters that enter the game as individuals summoned, like actually summoned by magic, to assist a kingdom that is being invaded or in a civil war or something along those lines.  The players would be significantly more powerful than the majority of the people around, and would be unusual.  So things like ancient heroes or supernatural entities or famed masters.  Things like that.

I am not sure how best to make it work.  One side of me wants to make it freeform, but I don't have a lot of experience running freeform and am a little afraid it would get out of hand, or be very hard to quantify.  Another option would be for players to be very high level, unusual types in a game like D&D (so maybe things like a high level half-dragon sorcerer, or a genie, things like that) but that would make the player options a lot more narrow than I feel it should be.

The game would revolve as much around the players dealing with whatever strife is going on, as them interacting with the world they are exposed to, and the idea of them being called, in essence, into servitude, possibly by much less powerful individuals.
 member, 59 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 00:50
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
Two choices for system mechanics jump out at me Pathfinder using a combination of powerful 'custom' race builds High level characters and perhaps even a Mythic Tier or two can easily provide both the quantified power and the breadth of versatility you are looking for.  It comes at a slight cost in complexity however.

Option two is significantly closer to free form by using D&D's 5th edition as high level characters to provide the quantification of power and style but opening up the race options for largely cosmetic upgrades to various monster types, toss in a 'monster' natural ability or two and you have more than enough unique system mechanical function to define the character as different without really bothering with all those pesky details.
 member, 19 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 00:57
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
well pathfinder also has an easier accessibility for anybody that doesn't have the book. Which yeah is a point that you should think about. but you could also do a donjon it is an extremely flexible system and is practically free form with some rules in place and is free to access.
 member, 567 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 01:00
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
I am not very familiar with Pathfinder, but am very familiar with 3.5.  I don't have any experience with 5th edition.

my worry in putting it in a system like D&D is that it might become more about the cool powers each high level player has, instead of the story and situation itself.
 member, 359 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 01:03
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
I've recently discovered a new appreciation for free-form games, with that said, given the game you're describing you may want to go that route. If you use Dnd rules you're going to end up with a lot of heroes that are... just Dnd characters at epic levels. If you do freeform you can have a much wider variety of colorful powers which is appropriate given the sort of game you're describing.

If you do go freeform, I'd suggest just offering some structure for making characters. Assign point values for certain stats, only allow two or three well defined powers, etc. It'll make it easier for you to moderate and limitations really help to inspire creativity.
Togashi Kenshin
 member, 34 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 01:41
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
My advice is to consider carefully why these heroes are so special and what sort of abilities they have. If they are simply high level characters, why are there no other similar characters running about? Unless you hit epic levels, there are usually dozens of high level characters in the mid to late double digit levels running about in a given setting. Otherwise, either there are not that many threats for your adventurers to fight or whatever threat exists has to be fairly recent and handwaved as to why they have not steamrolled everything already.

One story arc is the isekai story so popular nowadays with anime fandom, the person is a reincarnation of someone from our time. They can apply fantasy powers using modern scientific knowledge. Just imagine how revolutionary the concept of say, crop rotation and personal banking, is to a high fantasy setting.

Another is the King Under the Mountain myth. In her darkest hour, the King and his faithful Knights will return to deliver his beloved land. In this case the value of the PCs is as much symbolic as it is practical. Sure they are very powerful individuals but they are also hope. They are the prophesied return of the High King from Avalon. Salvation at the hand of the gods.

Another is to steal from the Forgotten Realms godswar novels, the PCs are either empowered by or actually are avatars of the nation's gods. This justifies all sorts of funky powers outside of a class system that the PCs might have.

As for systems I recommend an effects based system like Mutants and Masterminds or BESM compared to a class and level system like Pathfinder or D&D. Or just put Pathfinder characters in a D&D 3.5 game.
 member, 568 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 01:50
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
the concept isn't the problem for me, it is how to quantify and qualify the various abilities and powers.  Freeform seems like the best fit for the scope and the style I am after, but it is a bit daunting, since it will require a lot of work to start, in order to figure out how to make it all work and fit together.

But your statement at first is sort of the crux of the whole story concept.  The players are beings summoned by a kingdom to face a threat more powerful than anyone in the kingdom can face.  So there are no people of similar power walking around, save the threat itself.  At least not enough of them in this particular kingdom to defend it.  The players wouldn't be adventurers in the normal D&D sense.  They are called to this place to face a very specific situation, not wander looking for fights.
 member, 483 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 01:58
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
In reply to gladiusdei (msg # 7):

D&D 3.5 lets you work out level equivalents for critters. let everyone be actually summoned: Slaad, angel, genie, and other high powered Planar races. Figure out what power level you want, and let them add class levels to get to that level after HD and level adjustments are totaled.

If you prefer something more human like or leveled, there are those out there, too. Gith (both types) for instance, Asgard elves, and likely others. For that matter, ANY planar could be summoned.
Togashi Kenshin
 member, 35 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 01:58
IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
If freeform is not your cup of tea but you need some serious flexibility, why not use a rules lite system like the Window? It uses dice sizes to determine success and is pretty much capable of rendering anything. Gives you some tension without basically robbing player agency.
 member, 41 posts
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 08:27
Re: IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
The idea sounds really interesting.

I am not very familiar with Pathfinder, but am very familiar with 3.5.

If you are familiar with 3.5 then the transition to Pathfinder is quiet easy. PF is more like how 3.5 should have been all along. There are no dead levels for players, the skills make more sense, the classes are more balanced and you have so many more options to choose from. And lastly everything is available from the srd at (legally, for free).
 member, 24 posts
Sat 5 Aug 2017
at 20:03
Re: IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
If I might offer my thoughts I think you're essentially trying to decide if you want to do the work up front or in the back end.

What I mean is this:

Freeform: Freeform, you have to take a hand in establishing the power level the players are entitled to when you let them know how to complete their RTJ. I don't personally see that as difficult. You can say things like "Your character should be able to handle a cadre of soldiers by himself but can't stand against an entire army." or "Your character should be the sort of whom dragons are wary and even ancient evils know to respect." and so on. You find the tone you like. You can do the super-hero thing if that's easier for you or you can pick characters from anime, movies and so on. "Your character should be roughly as powerful as Leonidus from 300", "Your should be more like Daredevil than Spider-Man."

You get it. The key is when they apply, you have to review what they claim their powers are and then decide if that works. And then be willing to say "I see your character is a bloodmancer? And that they can create and shape the blood of anyone they touch, but that's a bit too much. What if they can only affect their own blood?" or whatever you want to say to someone who proposes that. You can regulate the characters power. You can tell them they can fly as fast a hawk on the wing but not as fast as a plane.

You have to do the work up front establishing the character's limits and of course Freeform isn't perfect you may have to kindly regulate overtures and such.

D&D/Pathfinder/System Game: This one is a bit easier upfront. The system regulates challenge, and danger and power and abilities. Its becomes very easy to tell your players "Make 9th level gestalt characters" or "Everyone make 12th level characters but you can have 2 bonus feats." And they put together those characters and you look at their sheets and because the game is formulaic it's not that much work to look them over to make sure there are no gross exploits or miscalculations.

But in exchange it can be restrictive. You want to run a Nine Headed Dragon God made of the corrupted water of life. Well now you've got to jury rig an existing monster together and give it stats. Because if you run a d&d game and you spend half of it saying "Oh, his AC is just tooooo high for you" people get frustrated. Because d&d is clear on its rules.

Similarly, you have to run mechanics for almost everything. Player wants to seduce this noble woman and extort her for her secrets. Skill rolls. DCs. Circumstance bonuses. They want to pick a fight with the grand knight. What level is he? What are his stats? You'll have to come up with them so they can roll out this fight.

d&d can make a great framework and it keeps everything mostly level and fair. But it cares a lot about exactly how many feet away someone is and just which type of armor they're wearing. And it limits what players can play and do. A wizard gets x spells a day. That's it.

Summary: My opinion and advice is that if you want a high-fantasy wild ride colourful game full of exciting and interesting characters -- essentially higher fantasy/anime-esque content, then go Freeform. You wont be tethered to the system when it comes to magic, spells, abilities, and content.

If you crave the structure and order of D&D, use that instead. It will narrow the scope of what can be (without house ruling and working around it) but it makes it easy to put together a group of 9th level heroes and throw them in a room with an adequate challenge. And it's easy to know when a fight is won or lost because the rules and dice handle that very cleanly. There will be far more bookkeeping though. Hit points. Initiative. Distance. XP. Treasure. Giving out adequate magical loot (D&D characters can be very gear dependent, especially in 3.5/Pathfinder).

As a writer, I personally prefer freeform. But it's whatever you think fits your style that's going to matter. I find mechanical games can get bogged down in well, the mechanics, if you're not careful.

If you run a D&D game, they'd have to be high level to feel sort of like the paragons you're thinking of.

You could maybe run something light like Window or Fate if you need a system.
 member, 243 posts
Tue 8 Aug 2017
at 01:27
Re: IC and discussion- game about summoned powerful heroes
An alternate idea is to use a system like D&D or Pathfinder, etc as a framework to define what the characters and main enemies (boss or sub-boss type opponents) are capable of but run the game in free form allowing freedom for how the players use those defined abilities and just step in to determine success when the heroes fight the main enemies. You wouldn't even need to use the rules and roll for everything, just judge how likely it is they succeed based on their sheets vs the enemies. High chance of success, happens as the player wanted, moderate chance they do what they're trying but doesn't have full effect as planned, low chance the player fails at what they're trying. As an example.