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My group and I are playing a Superhero Campaign. We are using the Fantasy Flight Games Roleplaying system used in their Star Wars series, with a mixture of the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. In the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying system super powers have different levels, for example: A level 1 Teleportation power can be use to teleport around the same building, at level 2 you can teleport around an area of a city, an so on.

To pass this super powers system to the FFG System all i do is make each super power level have a different base difficulty, for example: A level 1 power has base difficulty of 2 dice (purple difficulty die), a level 4 power has a base difficulty of 5 dice, after this base pool of dice I add more difficulty dice or change some into Challenge Dice (red die) depending of situation.

If they want to teleport to somewhere they have only heard of before, I add more difficulty, if they want to use a Energy Blast against a strong Super-Villain, I add more difficulty.

(This is the kind of system we use, i hope is clear)

Now to the actual question. Each of the players on our campaign chose a power that let them get immediately where they want.

One can make portals, one has super velocity, and the other one can just Nightcrawler him self anywhere he wants - so they really don't explore a lot, and just go directly to the quest giver, to their objectives, and then back to their apartments. And then they repeat that. So they miss all the things that could happen in the middle of the road on way to their mission.

For example, there is a big thing that is happening outside of one of the PC's apartment building. But he never notices it, because he doesn't even step out to the front of the building; he teleports from his room to the other side of the city. (It is a neighbour whose daughter is seeing strange creatures rooming around the building.)

How can I motivate PCs to explore more when they have the ability to get to their destination (almost) immediately?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Let's hold this briefly until we get confirmation on which game system is involved. Jeseetv, are you playing using the book Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, or are you playing a different game, or just making up the rules freeform (which is also fine, but we need to know)? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 4 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alight, that kind of mix of systems is unconventional but clear enough and not unheard of, so I’ve lifted the hold. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 6 at 1:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, are you oversimplifying for the sake of example? Marvel Heroic rates its powers as d6/d8/d10/d12, and the d6/d8 levels for teleport... about match your levels 1 and 2, I think? I'm sorry to keep pushing on this, especially because you're relying on an entirely different system to actually drive the plot, but there have been at least 4 Marvel RPGs, and while they all have similar names they have very different systems for modeling powers. \$\endgroup\$ – Glazius Jan 6 at 2:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can add a photo of the cover of the book you’re using, we can take it from there. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 6 at 6:27
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Do you really have a problem?

If the players are having fun is this an issue? I believe exploring is part of the game and enjoy doing it, but your players may not. Make sure you discuss the group expectation for what sort of things that campaign should contain.

It is possible that once you point it out they may solve the problem all on their own. If they agree they would like to have exploring in the game but aren't doing it the next question to ask is why?

Why do they play this way?

There are multiple reasons why they might prefer to teleport/super speed around all the time:

  • It's safer, less time traveling is less opportunity for danger. Your players may be worried about encounters on the road or risking their characters lives.
  • It's mechanically efficient. The players feel they have a better chance of succeeding if they take this approach. Either through saved time or some other mechanical advantage.
  • It's cool. Let's face it the ability to teleport around is awesome. It's possible your players are just doing this because they can and think it's the most fun way to get places.

There are many more reasons your players may prefer to get around this way. The perfect solution will depends heavily on that answer (if you know it add it to your question), however I will try to suggest some strategies for dealing with these reasons.

If they are worried about safety

This one is difficult to answer as it depends strongly on the group itself. I would try to assure them that it's not that dangerous. You can either straight up promise not to kill them while on a side quest or you could use some of the techniques below to make it worth their while.

In my campaign I dealt with this by making staying home just as deadly as going out on most occasions. It was a very different setting in a different systems so I don't think it is applicable here but it is certainly effective.

Mechanically give them a reason to do it

Fundamentally the issue here is that the players don't see the point of not teleporting. It's easier, faster and probably safer. You need to come up with a reason for them to explore. Below I've given a few of the things I have used to do this.

Reward them for it

The simplest way to encourage anyone to do anything is to provide an incentive to do it. This can be in items, xp or opportunities. You need to communicate to your players that there is a clear advantage to exploring the world they live in.

Some rewards you can use:

  • XP: Award additional experience for exploring new locations. I have played in an Edge of the Empire game where this was one of our best ways to gain XP. Also High Rollers (a DND livesteam) have recently introduced this mechanic to their new campaign and it works to great effect. By incentivizing exploration with XP the players often divert from the main quest to check out the interesting location that are mentioned. Whereas previously they were focused on their goals and getting to their destination safely.
  • Unique Items: Some items can only be obtained through side quests. Side quests can only be found by exploring. I like to give my players items themed around the NPCs they meet. Meeting more people gives them access to different kinds of items. This directly encourages them to get out more if they want the cool stuff.
  • NPC allies: By not exploring they are missing out on the chance to meet people. Create some clearly useful NPCs that they can only meet through exploring and they will be encourage to look for more. My players love this and go exploring in every location hoping to meet interesting NPCs.

Don't give them a destination

To extend the second point above, maybe there are entire quests or story arcs that requires them to search for something/one and teleporting around won't help them.

Make teleportation more difficult

You say you increase the difficulty when going somewhere they have only heard of, perhaps you should consider increase this penalty to further discourage them from just teleporting to random destinations.

Also if they are just teleporting into a place that they have never been, they have no guarantee they are going to land safely. Yes, you can teleport into the BBEG's base but you have no control over whether you land in the quiet back corner undetected or right in the middle of guard rifle training. If teleporting in gives them issues a few times they might be more hesitant to use it right away.

I would suggest that the minimum difficult for teleporting to an unknown destination would be 2 Challenge Dice plus how ever many Difficulty Die you need to use that ability normally. This gives you a decent chance to roll a Despair and have something go wrong. Teleporting somewhere you don't know should be risky and not having a Challenge Dice by default is pretty easy. I imagine the players have fairly large pools for their abilities anyway.

Penalize them for not doing it

This isn't my preferred approach but something you can try if they still don't get the point.

Have things happen without them there. Riots, billboard wanted ads, or more subtle things. Whatever it is continue that storyline through even though the players didn't show up. Player's didn't walk through town? They weren't there to save that bus load of orphans. They didn't explore that building? They missed the villain's warning that he was going to assassinate the president.

Whatever story you use make it clear that they missed something. Communicate it to them through news broadcasts or tip offs from there allies.

Drag them out through story hooks

They have an apartment right? So they have neighbours? Or they have loved ones? Someone that the PCs would do anything for? Use those characters to lead the PCs out to explore. Maybe grandma needs help with the shopping? Maybe their neighbour owes somebody a lot of money and needs help delivering it? Heaps of classic superhero stories start with the heroes doing everyday errands, so encourage them to go out and do them.

Make exploring fun too

If you group teleports because it's fun and they get to show off their cool abilities, then you need to find a way to make exploring just as much fun.

Figure out what kind of play they enjoy and ensure they get lots of that when they go exploring. Maybe they are the kind of group that just likes completing missions, so give lots of mini-quests that they can complete while exploring. Or maybe they just like boss fights and can't be bothered with the lead up. Put in car chases and big actions sequences that they can only be part of if they are there at that exact time.

I like to fill my world with quirky fun NPCs that my players love. This encourages them to explore the world around them to meet as many as they can. Often they will go bar hoping just to see what I come up with.

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You're making a grave mistake. That's not what Marvel Heroic Roleplaying die ratings are for.

Powers are discussed in the main Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (MHR) rules and the meanings of die ratings are elaborated from pp. OM71-OM87, but not really to provide any kind of mechanical rectitude. They're more there so you the player can take a Marvel hero or villain that exists, that there isn't an official datasheet for, and write them one, based on what they can do in the comics. Superhuman Speed d10 beats out a bullet train, Godlike Speed d12 can run around the world before you know they're gone, but that doesn't mean that doing one is supposed to be one or two points of some abstract difficulty harder than the other.

MHR is a game of dramatic action and, to the point, every action roll in a dramatic scene is going to involve reading at least three dice - two for power and one for effect. Despite Godlike Speed being easily a hundred thousand times faster than Superhuman Speed, the effect of having it is that one of Godlike Speed's dice is going to be one point higher than one of Superhuman Speed's dice, on average. For the purposes of MHR, that's fine, because all characters in a scene, just because they're in that scene, are assumed to have roughly equal dramatic weight.

I mean, when has this ever happened in comics, other than to make you laugh?

A man in a ridiculous patchwork costume stands in a city street, raining blows on a slowly crumpling armored car. This is Four Thouso.

Four Thouso: Ah haha! Do you see now, cowering citizens? Do you see now the power of my number?

The Incredible Hulk does a superhero landing in the street, no doubt from some adjacent tall building. His arms are spread wide.

Hulk: HULK'S NUMBER IS THIS BIG!

Four Thouso: No! His number! The magnitude! I am undone!

Four Thouso stops pounding on the armored car and slumps dejectedly. The Incredible Hulk winds up and haymakers him to somewhere off-panel. End scene.

So while, in terms of strength, Spider-Man is Superhuman (d10) and the Incredible Hulk is Godlike (d12), if Hulk's raging out and about to throw a truck full of explosive deadly cancer poison onto a train full of schoolkids, Spider-Man can meaningfully struggle to stop him.

Powers and Pacing in MHR

In addition to not really mattering during drama/combat, Godlike Speed vs. Superhuman Speed doesn't really matter during lulls/noncombat either. This is because of how MHR structures its play.

  1. Heroes are reactive. Yes, the movie ends with the heroes knowing what's up and where to go and who to punch, and they get their ducks in a row and fight like hell and save the day. But there were scenes before that, scenes where the heroes didn't know what was up, trying to go where and punch who they could in order to contain a disaster that was already in progress and try to set up that scene. MHR enforces this pretty strictly with a strongly pre-plotted script of dramatic scenes, largely beginning with scenes of plots in progress, disasters unfolding, and heroes working containment, and ending with dramatic confrontations. As those early scenes go on, a pool of threat gradually builds as things get out of control, and the GM can spend out of it for dramatic swings in their favor, but in general it's going to go up slowly but steadily until the final showdown. And this is important, because:
  2. Powers are always dramatic. No matter what, if you're rolling your superpower and the outcome is important, it's a dramatic scene, and in a dramatic scene the doom pool is always around and will even stand up as its own dramatic opposition of whatever sort if the GM doesn't know what else to throw at the heroes. You can scout a place out at super-speed, sure, but even if the place isn't on alert with known guards, there's still the background drama to roll against. Fail and, in the abstract, the general background plotting of nefarious villains gets in your way and now there are defenses or opposition trying to hurt you. (If you're using your superpower and the outcome is not important, such as using Space Flight d12 to get everybody to a landing point on Mars to fight HYDRA on their Mars base, don't bother rolling, it just happens. Why is that not important? Because if you don't get there, there's no comic.)
  3. Doing things safely needs training. You can scout the building during a "transition scene", a scene explicitly not about drama where you can decompress, recover your traumas and lost powers, and outline a plan of action. It requires a little plot currency but you don't even need to roll, you just get the same sort of scouting bonus die you might have gotten making that roll to do it with superspeed. But it depends on you having training in acting covertly, rather than any particular level of superspeed (though you might have to be in the right band of magnitude if there's a time constraint about).

So how are you supposed to transfer all these principles over to the Genesys-style system you're currently running?

An Attempt At MHR Pacing In Genesys

This is the roughest sketch, and I've got no idea how much of it will make sense in the kind of homebrew you're doing. (Also not entirely sure on versions etc. because I've got Genesys physically but at best memories of prior FFG games.)

  • Abandon MHR's power scale as a difficulty measure. It's exponential. It's ridiculously exponential. Moving up one die step means you're hundreds/thousands/hundreds of thousands of times more capable. Just use the FFG system's difficulty scale, if it matters, and spoiler alert, it's not going to matter too much, because:
  • Adopt MHR's pacing. Don't just tell people that they have to push the win button at Location Z. Give them disasters they need to contain, stuff they need to combat down. Don't be afraid to have things go wrong in the world and just expect your heroes to deal with them because overwhelming odds is what heroes are for. Monsters are going to attack somebody's apartment? Great! They're right there, doing it! Walls are crumbling, people are fleeing in terror! What are you doing, heroes? Once people have put out a few fires then you can give them a clear objective.
  • Lift the doom pool (optional). Don't cash out uncanceled despairs or threat triplets right away. Feed them into a doom counter. Where N is the number of times that happens in your average combat, which you would know better than me: spend 1.5N(round down) points of counter and 2 story points to end a scene in a rush of chaos that gives the villains some advantage in the next drama scene. Or let the scene end naturally when the heroes take care of things. Leftover doom counter adds to the threat level, which represents a general difficulty adder at a ratio of 2N:1, and clears after the big showdown.
  • Limit power rolls outside drama scenes. Power use, sure, you can just narrate whatever you want, this is "you time" and you're gonna need it. You can probably model MHR's "create stuff in safety" by letting people do prep for the next scene with their non-power skills. Spend a story point and everybody gets to make one setup maneuver.

Unless your players have put literally all their build points into superpowering to Location Z and pushing the win button, this should still respect their power choices and not overwhelm them.

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