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GM Joe

What's the second-best superhero RPG?

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The only superhero game I actually played, ever, was Champions New Millennium. I had fun with it but I am fully aware of its (Fuzion's) Hero System parentage. I think the mechanics are different enough that it no longer qualifies as Hero/Champions.

 

I would like to try something more narrative based, like FATE, to build a superhero game. I suppose that is an entirely different discussion though.

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I would like to try something more narrative based, like FATE, to build a superhero game. I suppose that is an entirely different discussion though.

 

Can I interest you in an intermediate step? :)   I'm a fan of Supers! (revised edition).  It has narrative elements, but also traditional elements. You buy your powers, but you don't specify each possible use of them. That's all done narratively, as you play. So, you might have a 7D Ice power, for example. It ends up being very much like the comics, where Iceman comes up with an innovative use of his ice powers on the fly.

 

I can't attest to how well it'd work over the long haul, but my group's had a lot of fun using Supers! (revised edition) for one-shots.

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I actually enjoyed Heroes Unlimited...in my teen years.  As I got older, I liked it less and less until a liberal dose of Houserulium and Handwavium cleared the clutter of crap called the rules.  The powers and character types stayed interesting, but the clunky rules, plus KS's "writing" and egomania, drove me utterly bonkers.  If I were to ever pick up HU again, I might use some of the powers as guides for Hero System builds, but that's about it.

 

The only reason HU ranks second for me is because I never tried anything else...until I found Hero.  There was a brief flirtation with Aberrant, but I mostly pretend that never happened.

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Here's a question--when playing a superhero RPG with its own universe--especially DC Heroes or Marvel (FASERIP, SAGA, or other) did you set you games in that universe, or create your own settings and characters?

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Something resembling the Marvel universe. I mean I had all those write-ups for all the Marvel characters it seemed a waste not to use them.

 

When I started playing FASERIP I didn't read comics. It was actually the game, that got me reading them. I bought ones I thought would give me the most campaign usable info to rip off. I mean, be inspired by.

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Can I interest you in an intermediate step? :)   I'm a fan of Supers! (revised edition).  It has narrative elements, but also traditional elements. You buy your powers, but you don't specify each possible use of them. That's all done narratively, as you play. So, you might have a 7D Ice power, for example. It ends up being very much like the comics, where Iceman comes up with an innovative use of his ice powers on the fly.

 

I can't attest to how well it'd work over the long haul, but my group's had a lot of fun using Supers! (revised edition) for one-shots.

 

Sounds fun. Might even adapt the general concept into something more fantasy later. Thanks for the heads up.

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I think FASERIP called those "power stunts", didn't it?

 

In the Hero System that's hard to do without a VPP that can change from Phase to Phase and a player who either has access to a sizeable catalog of pre-built powers tied to their PC's special effect, or is exceptional at building new powers during play without slowing the game down.

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I actually enjoyed Heroes Unlimited...in my teen years.  As I got older, I liked it less and less until a liberal dose of Houserulium and Handwavium cleared the clutter of crap called the rules.  The powers and character types stayed interesting, but the clunky rules, plus KS's "writing" and egomania, drove me utterly bonkers.  If I were to ever pick up HU again, I might use some of the powers as guides for Hero System builds, but that's about it.

 

The only reason HU ranks second for me is because I never tried anything else...until I found Hero.  There was a brief flirtation with Aberrant, but I mostly pretend that never happened.

 

Yeah, Palladium games can be great for mining ideas but don't touch the mechanics.  I still have HU, TMNT and Villains Unlimited and have pulled characters/plots out of those books many times over the years (same with Rifts, Palladium Fantasy and Mechanoids).  I love the fluff in Palladium's stuff but hate the rules.

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Here's a question--when playing a superhero RPG with its own universe--especially DC Heroes or Marvel (FASERIP, SAGA, or other) did you set you games in that universe, or create your own settings and characters?

 

Something resembling the Marvel Universe but the campaign centered in a location Marvel hardly ever writes about (my home town, St. Louis, MO).  So, there wasn't much need for frequent interaction with any ongoing plots or the like.  Just occasional guest stars/villains.

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Here's a question--when playing a superhero RPG with its own universe--especially DC Heroes or Marvel (FASERIP, SAGA, or other) did you set you games in that universe, or create your own settings and characters?

 

I did run a game using the MSH Nightmare Future modules.  I would never run a game in the "default" Marvel or DC superhero universe, because they are too overburdened with too much clutter, retcons and legacy bad ideas.  

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That's an interesting observation, Clonus.

 

I think the idea of playing in those universes sounds good at first blush, but then falls apart in actual practice due to the very issues you mention.

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"Truth and Justice" by Chad Underkoffler. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_&_Justice

 

T&J uses Chad's PDQ (Prose Descriptor Qualities) system. T&J is a very rules-light game that allows for role-playing and storytelling to take center stage. And the way that damage resolution works explains so easily why, for instance, Peter Parker's social life constantly gets trashed, while Spider-Man can continue to fight. 

 

The core rules for PDQ is available for download free of charge, if you'd like to see for yourself. 

http://www.warehouse23.com/products/pdq-number-pdq-sharp

 

Franklin

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"Truth and Justice" by Chad Underkoffler. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_&_Justice

 

T&J uses Chad's PDQ (Prose Descriptor Qualities) system. T&J is a very rules-light game that allows for role-playing and storytelling to take center stage. And the way that damage resolution works explains so easily why, for instance, Peter Parker's social life constantly gets trashed, while Spider-Man can continue to fight. 

 

The core rules for PDQ is available for download free of charge, if you'd like to see for yourself. 

http://www.warehouse23.com/products/pdq-number-pdq-sharp

 

Franklin

Never heard of this system! Just downloaded the free version of the full system(there's also a quick guide pdf for free on the same site), thanks for the heads up!

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DC Superheroes was my bread and butter game for about a decade. It lacked the precision of HERO's character creation system, but it lent itself to a lot of fun and random chance had enough effect on the mechanics that it wasn't utterly pointless to face opponents outside your weight class (a problem I had when playing FASERIP, along with far more disagreements about published character statistics than I had with Mayfair).

 

I've been looking into the DC Adventures game that's based on Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition. It seems like an interesting system, and the logarithmic progression of stats and measurements is enough like Mayfair's game that the character builds make some sense to my newbie eyes. Haven't found an opportunity to actually play the game yet, though.

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I liked DC Heroes, though we never did anything more than screw around with it.  But it's a great system.

 

Mutants and Masterminds is good, but it's basically D20 Champions.  I might as well stick with Hero.

 

I actually liked the Marvel SAGA system a lot.  If you wanted to teach someone how to play an RPG in like 5 minutes, you could do it with that one.

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I don't think I have a single "second-best" system that I could nominate. These days I run quite a bit M&M Third Edition (which is a bit more than "d20 Champions"), and would like to run some Supers! and Icons sometime. I'm hoping to run some more Champions sometime in the future.

 

Here's a question--when playing a superhero RPG with its own universe--especially DC Heroes or Marvel (FASERIP, SAGA, or other) did you set you games in that universe, or create your own settings and characters?

 

Having ran DC Heroes, FASERIP, and Saga, I tend to run them on different Earths. For example, my Saga game had other Marvel heroes on it, and the players had confronted their share of Marvel-based bad guys, but still had unique villains, and their own city. One of the best games I ran was when The Hulk blew through the city, and some of the group had to re-route him before he caused too much damage. Fun times.

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A couple of random thoughts I had:

 

Looking at FASERIP:

 

I always played the Advanced game, and had only seen it and the first Basic game. Classic Marvel Forever has the Revised Basic game, which was the last version of the rules. Apparently, the line was dropped before the Advanced version revision was released.

 

I think if you added Power Stunts into Basic Revised, it'd probably be the best FASERIP version. Character creation seems much more balanced in Basic Revised than Advanced, for example.

 

Regarding ICONS:

 

I noticed on DriveThru RPG, that there's a new Assembled edition. I have the original edition. Is it better to get the Great Power supplement plus the original, or better to get Assembled, or better to get Assembled plus Great Power (if they're compatible)? What does Assembled have over the first edition, aside from additions from Great Power?

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A couple of random thoughts I had:

 

Looking at FASERIP:

 

I always played the Advanced game, and had only seen it and the first Basic game. Classic Marvel Forever has the Revised Basic game, which was the last version of the rules. Apparently, the line was dropped before the Advanced version revision was released.

 

I think if you added Power Stunts into Basic Revised, it'd probably be the best FASERIP version. Character creation seems much more balanced in Basic Revised than Advanced, for example.

 

Regarding ICONS:

 

I noticed on DriveThru RPG, that there's a new Assembled edition. I have the original edition. Is it better to get the Great Power supplement plus the original, or better to get Assembled, or better to get Assembled plus Great Power (if they're compatible)? What does Assembled have over the first edition, aside from additions from Great Power?

 

 

I've read the write-up for Assembled and it seems to contain a fair number of tweaks to action mechanics over Icons + Great Power.  

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