Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are Supers in my Future?

I've had little luck getting any RPG action in at home. We did start off off a Pathfinder-based "Pirates" game, set in Midgard's Western Sea, which I'll blog about once we actually get going.

But in the mean time, I've become interested in Superhero games.

I'm sort of late to the Superhero Comics scene. Like VERY late. Sure, I read my neighbor's Spiderman comics as a kid, and I watched all the usual 70's and 80's superhero TV shows like every other geek my age, but it wasn't until Avengers and then Guardians of the Galaxy that I actually got really interested in Superheroes.

So I've been looking for a game system that can accurately model everything from the recent Marvel-verse movies (Avengers&Spinoffs, Fantastic-4, X-Men, etc.), the recent DC TV serieses, and other "caped crusader" type situations.

At first, I was pretty sure the Mutants & Masterminds was going to be my "ride". It's D20 based, has HeroLab support, has TONS of supplemental materials, and was able to handle any of the character concepts I threw at it. But it had one serious drawback for my gaming group - the players really need to understand the character build system to get the most out of it.

For the same reason, I've ruled out the various FATE based systems. While they seem like they'd be very playable in the right circumstances, my group isn't the sort who embraces clever rule mechanisms - by and large, they're happier with "I want to do X, what do I roll?" rather than the level of Narrative responsibility that FATE requires.

So I think I've found the perfect game: Supers!, revised edition. Character building is as simple as spreading 20 "dice" around various stats and dreaming up what super powers you want. Game play is creative, but "narrative control" is mostly limited to describing how you use your powers to attack or defend. You can get pretty creative with that, like defending against a gun attack with your Composure - basically, staring down the bad guy, and unnerving him so much that he misses you with his attack - or using Super Speed to body-slam someone, who could use Super Strength to resist you, or maybe use the ability to phase out of existence to not be there. Of course you could simply try to dodge the charge, or resist an attack with your innate toughness. The reason you have so many options is that once you use a single source of power in a round, you can't use it again. So if you blow your Elemental/Fire control making a shield, you can't then turn around and fire-blast someone in the same round. Lots of fun choices to make!

I received the print-on-demand book from RPGNow yesterday. My daughter asked me what it was, and immediately told me what sort of superhero she would play.

Apparently, she'd already been thinking about what sort of superhero she would play in an RPG, because kids do that sort of thing.