Sunday, June 9, 2013

Handicapping in Superhero 2044

More Mike Cagle art

As I stated previously, Superhero 2044 is a scheduling game.  Each player plans out his or her character's activity a week at a time.  According to page 12:
Each week each character must submit a planning sheet to the referee.  This sheet should tell the status of a hero at the beginning of the week.  The referee uses this information to calculate how many and what kind of crimes are encountered during the week.
The 'weekly planning sheet' has a calendar of sorts where the player indicates what the character does in each six-hour block of time.  Then, the the total blocks of time devoted to various options are calculated.  Options include:  patrol, rest, school, practice, and research.  Room is provided for 'other' activities – I expect that 'employment' would be fairly common – but there are only five pre-listed options.  The time blocks must equal 28 (i.e., seven days times four blocks per day).  Confusingly, on the sheet they are called 'hours' rather than 'blocks.'  This results in the peculiar line, “TOTAL = 28 HOURS.”

Each character must devote at least ten blocks toward rest.  However, there can be – at most – four blocks between rest periods and no more than three rest blocks in a row.  According to page 14, “Rest blocks represent not only sleep, but minor recreation, eating, and shopping for basic needs.”

Most prominent on the planning sheet are not the character's prime requisites, but instead his or her handicap scores.  These scores help determine what happens when the character goes out on patrol.  There are eight handicap categories, each having a value from one to ten.  The rules state that the total Handicap value ranges from 10 to 8, but it seems to me that it would range from 8 to 80.  Anyway, the handicap categories are:
Prevention – “ability to prevent criminals from operating.”
Location – “ability to locate criminals.”
Stopping – “ability to stop crimes in progress.”
Capture – “ability to capture criminals.”
Conviction – “ability to convict captured criminals.”
Leads – “ability to get leads.”
Damage – “tendency to cause damage while stopping crimes.”
Injury – “tendency to be injured or captured.”
(Actually, according to the example provided in the rules, 'Damage' should be, “tendency to avoid causing damage while stopping crimes,” and 'Injury' should be,“tendency to avoid being injured or captured.”)

The referee determines the value for each category by means of a handicapping scenario.  In essence, the character encounters a crime in progress.  The referee evaluates how the player has the character handle the situation and rates the categories appropriately.  A character's handicap scores can be evaluated as frequently as three times per week but cannot be evaluated less frequently than a monthly basis.  Apparently, “each new evaluation supercedes the previous one.”  However, I assume that previous scores are supposed to influence the results of any given evaluation.  'Prevention' at least is supposed to be indicative of a character's reputation.

So, what exactly do these handicapping scores accomplish?  Well, characters are expected to go out on patrol and fight crime and the handicap scores help to determine what happens during patrol.  (For any given week, I suppose) a character's 'Location Effectiveness Number' is determined by subtracting 'Prevention' from 'Location' and checking the result on a table.  In a time-block, a character can patrol one 'area' from a selection of areas  (e.g., industrial, suburbs, government, et al.).  Each area has a 'Crime Density Number' which when multiplied by the 'Location Effectiveness Number' and further multiplied by the number of six-hour blocks spent patrolling that area generates the number of crimes that are encountered.  With me so far?

In the world of Superhero 2044, there are 32 types of crime – from assassination to soliciting and illegal pollution to poaching.  Different crimes are more or less likely in different areas.  For instance, skyjacking does not occur in the suburbs and jailbreaks do not occur in the resort area.  Percentile dice are rolled and the 'Crime Frequency Table' is consulted to determine one of the crimes encountered.  For each crime, the 'Crime Data Sheet' provides modifiers for the handicap categories corresponding to Stop, Capture, Convict, Lead, Damage, and Injury.  For any given instance of crime, 2d6 are rolled for each category to determine severity.  Crime data is added to severity and the sum is multiplied by the appropriate handicap score of the character.  Each of these products is checked against the 'Patrol Results Table' to determine what happens.

For example, let's say that a hero with a Capture score of 5 comes across some smugglers in flagrante delicto.  An 8 is rolled for severity and the capture modifier for smuggling (per the 'Crime Data Sheet') is -4.  Thus, (8 - 4) x 5 = 20.  According to the 'Patrol Results Table,' a product of 20 means the criminals escape.

Each type of crime has a certain number of reward dice associated with it.  The dice are rolled and the total multiplied by 50 to determine the number of 'Psuedodollars' received.  Presumably, the perpetrator(s) must be captured and convicted before a reward is earned.  In the example the book provides, the character receives only half of the reward dice because – even though the miscreants were caught and convicted – the character did not stop them from committing the crime.

1 comment:

  1. wow, im a little wierded out by this. Back in 89 i joined a superhero campaign written by a friend of mine. It had fifty plus players and each player handed in a fortnightly turnsheet that essentially told the ref what you were up to, you recieved a newsheet each fortnight with the worlds notable events on it that you could interfere with or you could follow up on your own stuff. If anything in your turnsheet needed reffing you got called in for a session.
    I knew that the core game had been written by someone else, the terms toolmaster, ubermensche and unique were holdouts from the original source but the ref Justin had utterly retooled it as well as creating his hideously complex and deep world that we played in. I perhaps had more insight into how detailed it was as my character had post-cognition. But i never knew the name of the original source so when i googled the three character types to see if Justin had ever published i came across this. Looking at this stuff makes me realise just how much Justin had retooled it, he was in his own way a toolmaster when it came to gaming. Fascinating, Cheers perdustin.