A mismatched collection of heroes meet up while in Scotland investigating reports of criminals acquiring super powers. Through a strange series of largely self-inflicted events they find themselves in a barren future that barely survived an invasion of alien power drainers. Where the only powered individuals left are our heroes and and small number of "gods" that look rather like the cast of Blake's 7.
We use Skype, as it is an entirely remote game. We usually have at least 4 online and on rare occasions 7 and Skype has performed very well. It only misbehaves when individuals run over wireless networks. No matter how good people claim their wireless connection, the sound quality is poorer and there are frequent disconnects.
We are currently using Maptool 1.3 Build 70. When we started the campaign we made use of an instance of HP Rooms, which worked remarkably well considering its designed for meetings and for some reason is completely lacking in dice rolling functions! We still miss the fact that it retained the chat from previous sessions. However I was keen to move over to Maptool, which we did at Build 70. We are waiting for the the last 1.3 build to stabilise before we all upgrade, at which point I will include some Hero System specific tweaks into the software.
We use MapTool pretty much as a white board and draw on the fly. Our referee is a busy lawyer and so we are happy when he turns up and don't expect preprepared maps Drawing is easy but Vision Blocking Layers can be a little trickier, especially as we are still somewhat new to the tool.
Although there are a couple of 5E and 6E Hero System frameworks for MapTool, I wanted to create my own. Partly because I didn't want to deal with a big framework someone else supports, partly because I wanted to learn the system myself and partly because I am still enough of a geek that I can enjoy that kind of thing. When its not for work, anyway! So I have been gradually adding little bits of functionality to our campaign files as we have gone on. Including:
- Damage Tracking: Keeping track of stun, body damage and "stunned" and "unconscious" status. We display a status bar for Stun, but don't bother for Body. I am also not bothering with defences, leave some work for the Ref
- Standard Manoeuvres: The first complex bit of coding was to create a single button for standard manoeuvres. The player clicks a button and it brings up a dialogue box where they can select from "Block", "Disarm", through to "Strike". Enter standard STR, pushed STR, velocity and click tick-boxes for "Brace" and "Set". It then sets OCV, DCV, and if appropriate makes an attack roll, calculates the DCV hit and rolls damage. It also calculates END usage based on a standard costs of 1 per 10 for normal STR and 1 per 1 for pushed. We have a status bar for END as well as Stun. The function tracks the last manoeuvre you used and knows how your combat skills are assigned so it can keep track of your current OCV and DCV.
- Assign Combat Skills: A button to allow players to assign any combat skills they have between OCV, DCV and damage. We have nothing to stop players claiming extra skills but the function does report to the chat dialogue what they have done.
- Turn Management: A function for the GM to cycle through the Hero System's 12 phases of combat. The Ref clicks the button, a dialogue pops up asking which segment (1-12) and then loads up all tokens on the current map with the appropriate SPD and sorts them in Dex order. I have also added a "Hold" status. So that rather than performing an action a player can mark themselves as "Holding". They will then be pulled in every segment until their status is removed. Which will happen automatically if its a segment they'd normally act on.
- Player Specific Actions: I have a number of player specific buttons to cope with their unique powers and differing endurance costs. These typically select a target and work out range modifiers as well.
I already have a number of change request from my GM and players and will be adding some more generic task buttons (like skill rolls) and will probably merge the set skills button into the general action buttons.