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RPG (System) for a SUPERS Campaign?

Ronaldo Lima

Member
Adventure Builder
For a modern, more grounded and gray SUPERS campaign; at this point my Razor could be something like: “Mission Impossible (movies) meets The Boys (TV show)”...

I was going with M&M 3ed, which I have some experience with, but my players complained a bit about it being too complex/confuse; they also pointed out that we expect to have a few first-time players, and that with M&M there would be a higher risk of NOT delivering an AMAZING introduction, as our beloved hobby deserves.

Thoughts?

p.s.: hey @ExileInParadise, I was about to just PM this question to you, but then I realized it would be better to make it a thread, so we can get more insights and also share the feedback within our community; anyways, thanks for your usual availability and disposition to help! 🙂🤓
 

ExileInParadise

Active member
Wizard of Adventure
Adventure Builder
Unfortunately, Supers games of any sort get complicated - its the nature of the beast when you have supernatural powers.

Of course, D&D has the exact same issue - the Spells are usually half the page count of the entire book - and magic weapons get one table .. and the magic is "plus to hit" whee!

So I have a couple of thoughts in no particular order because Supers / comix heros is one of the genres I am pretty least interested in.

However, they have amazing games that have to incorporate wild variance in reality and otherwise - so they tend to have extremely flexible and adaptable systems worth emulating...

If you want to run Mutants and Masterminds:
Why not throw out part of the book to start, and just go "bite size"?
It looks like there's a free "Quickstart" bundle that includes a Quickstart version of the core M&M3 - but that's probably too small.
Instead, aim for something like a *lite* version available and base the initial adventures just on that?

Compare the D20 basic box set with the hardcover books...
The basic boxes usually cover levels 1-3 and just the core classes, races, and spells.
Get that under the players belts and then step up to the full book and just start introducing more and more beyond the lite/basic set.

One problem I've noticed with $50 hardcovers is that once you buy them, darn it you BETTER USE THEM ALL, ALL THE TIME, OR ELSE!

And you just don't have to.
Treat the Gargantual Tome of Lore as a reference work - but start with a cheat sheet version of just the 10 best of each thing or something and skip anything 4th-level and beyond.

If you want to explore something else...
Champions/Hero System is the grand-daddy of awesome supers playing... and all of the complexity is in the options available to build your character.

Seriously - one version of like 1000 pages ... and probably 500 of them were the character creation.
But - there are a number of versions that exist that are much more rational (and easier on the encumberance limit)

Once you get past that - the players have *exactly* the super hero they imagined (up to the points they could afford...)
And you have their character - no matter how outlandish it is - meshed to a rather reasonable rules engine.

Or, just keep the first games totally simple as an onramp...
Or, you could try something like 4C System which takes a little DIY but ... hey, it's free, 32 pages, and good stuff - as well as expandable.
So, it's a "lite" system with lots of optional blocks.
http://www.seraphim-guard.com/4C_RPG.php
 

Gedece

Active member
Adventure Builder
Well, you have Venture City, Fate based, which mixes low powered superheroes with ciberpunk corporations.
You have also Masks, PBTA based, which is both about being a superheroe while also being a tenager (think yourg justice, Teen Titans)
There's a border case in Atomic Robo, Fate based, which is about action sciencists with whacky science.
I know about a fan created, really rules light, called 4 color heroes, powered by Fate Accelerated
Daring comics released a semicrunchy, list every power, Fate based game called Daring Heroes.
 

Ronaldo Lima

Member
Adventure Builder
Well, it looks like it's time to get out of my butt and learn about this famous FATE RPG...
I've heard many, many mentions about it, but I've never taken sometime to actually dig it... probably because there is that "70% Gamer" in my brain telling me this is just an indie narrative "game" without a real structured rules system...

Hopefully, I will be surprised... but keep wondering, how will Supers combat look like in this game?

Anyway, thank you gang for all the input so far...
 

JochenL

CL Byte Sprite
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Beta-Tester
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Gamer Lifestyle
Fate has a strong rules core. But it is somewhat "meta".
On the upside: It is easy and fast to prepare for!
 

jrrnewton

Member
Adventure Builder
Hopefully, I will be surprised... but keep wondering, how will Supers combat look like in this game?
Well... from a mechanics perspective, it is pretty easy to get a handle on. Instead of HP, you have a "Stress Track" and you can have different ones for different things if your world calls for it... Doing a game focused primarily on high finance CEO's flinging money around? Have a "Money" stress track. In general there is a Physical, sometimes Mental stress track. Each "level" of the stress track corresponds to an increasing level of damage, and there are mechanics for taking "higher" damage because lower damage is already filled (this is a really poor explanation). In combat you use skills, powers, and what not to effect the outcome and damage. Often rolls are opposed, but some can have set targets. If you roll higher you can get added effect, or bonuses for a future roll, or create a "situation modifier" (I don't remember the technical term) that PCs (or sometimes NPC opponents) can use. Environment effects are usually defined at the start of combat, but anyone can create a new one. Generally using an environment item will give you a bonus on your roll. Say there is a "crates" defined environment effect. A hero could say they were leaping off the top of the crates for a bonus. A bad guy could create a new effect with a fire based power, so now there are "crates on fire" or something like that.

I found when running this that the biggest issue was keeping track of some of the short term bonuses, and getting players to narrate what they are doing and how they are doing it to create interesting narratives.
 

Ronaldo Lima

Member
Adventure Builder
One problem I've noticed with $50 hardcovers is that once you buy them, darn it you BETTER USE THEM ALL, ALL THE TIME, OR ELSE!
I do relate to that... but is even more than just the cost-usability ratio, it's also the gamer/analytical thinker who wants to understand it all and master the whole thing, right? That's one of the reasons I was pushing for the M&M, because I already know at least some of it... but I have the feeling the group won't come onboard with me this time...
 

Ronaldo Lima

Member
Adventure Builder
Oh, this is where I step in and suggest DC Heroes, the long-extinct product of Mayfair Games. I play in two and run one game using this system.
I think I saw a mention somewhere about it... but man, how can you be in 3 games based on an extinct product? Does that mean there is no support, no updates, no new features, like pretty much nothing available? Wouldn't that require a lot of homebrewing?

And now I am curious: with so many options available, why are you and your group sticking with that one? What's about this game that makes it so worthy for you all?
 

Ronaldo Lima

Member
Adventure Builder
If you roll higher you can get added effect, or bonuses for a future roll, or create a "situation modifier"
This sounded like a cool feature... I will definitely dig deeper... I was reading the core description from their SRD website, but will also look for some videos or podcasts to get an overview and maybe a bit of a demo...
 

pgcannonjr

Member
Adventure Builder
I think I saw a mention somewhere about it... but man, how can you be in 3 games based on an extinct product? Does that mean there is no support, no updates, no new features, like pretty much nothing available? Wouldn't that require a lot of homebrewing?

And now I am curious: with so many options available, why are you and your group sticking with that one? What's about this game that makes it so worthy for you all?
Play it once and you'll know! Okay, seriously... How to answer that question? First, it's not the only dead game I'm involved with. In fact, there are lots of dead games that have a presence on the internet with a large following. Many groups create their own new content, offered freely to the community. I found a DC Heroes Group on Facebook, advertised a game, and BAM! we're playing and two games spawned from that. Is it nostalgia, familiarity with the system (which is by far the best ever!), a love the DC Comics, who knows?
 

Ronaldo Lima

Member
Adventure Builder
the system (which is by far the best ever!)
I will take that with a grain of salt... hahahaha
But it got me interested to at least look up to see what this system has to offer...

I just read the 2-page comics on FATE recommended by @Gedece and I really loved them! Such a great, simple and easy way to give a general explanation of a game... I still have a few doubts, but I am commitment myself to, at least, read that Venture City module.
 

Ronaldo Lima

Member
Adventure Builder
I watched a video with a short session of Fate Core featuring Will Wheaton, narrated by one of the game designers.

"TableTop: Wil Wheaton Plays FATE CORE w/ Felicia Day, John Rogers, & Ryan Macklin" => https://youtu.be/NOFXtAHg7vU

Has anyone seen this? I am wondering if it's a fair representation of FATE... because, if that's how it usually plays out, I don't think it would fit what I have in mind for my Supers campaign...
 

jrrnewton

Member
Adventure Builder
I watched a video with a short session of Fate Core featuring Will Wheaton, narrated by one of the game designers.

"TableTop: Wil Wheaton Plays FATE CORE w/ Felicia Day, John Rogers, & Ryan Macklin" => https://youtu.be/NOFXtAHg7vU

Has anyone seen this? I am wondering if it's a fair representation of FATE... because, if that's how it usually plays out, I don't think it would fit what I have in mind for my Supers campaign...
Yes, that is a good representation of FATE Core.
One thing to consider is that a lot of what they were doing with their characters would be a session 0 creation. In most games, part of character creation, is to develop backstories with each other character, and you define some of your aspects based on those backstories. They did a lot of adding aspects and stunts on the fly, but in most games those are defined during character creation.

For a supers game, you would probably be having more stunts as super powers, etc.
 

Sky River Titan

Member
Adventure Builder
Variations on FATE too: Go on Driv Thru RPG and search Fate supers. ICONS is based on Fate and is very low crunch but slightly more than regular Fate. But Wearing the Cape is awesome, and a slimmed down version of the rules just came out called Super Powered Fate. Venture City is awesome too, and comes with some pre-made power sets to fiddle with instead of leaving it your imagination completely. Very flexible and simple. I love to use Villains and Vigilantes table to generate powers and then just use ICONs or Super Powered Fate.
Having said that, check out Truth and Justice (PDQ system). Simple and emulates the craziness of comics really well.
 
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