Developing a Superhero Campaign: Evaluating Systems Part II

I received a number of useful comments from my previous post as I consider systems for a possible superhero game.

With that in mind, I've eliminated several games and have a few more to consider.

Eliminated:

  • Hero System/Champions: I'd love to try this out but I sense this is creating more work than I want at this case - only about half the players in the group have any experience with the Hero System coupled with a need to run the game on a virtual tabletop.
  • Mutants & Masterminds: Certainly lighter than Champions, but truthfully I'm trying to keep things a bit on the lighter side.
  • Wild Talents: One of my favorite games, running it on a virtual tabletop is a bit more complicated than I'd prefer, with everyone needing to roll simultaneously and ordering everything accordingly.
Still in the running is Daring Comics. I'm still in the process of digesting the game but I've been liking it so far. I do need to consider if I want to run such a strongly narrative game, with its economy based on Fate Points and Aspects.

With that in mind, there's a few more I'm considering:

Guardians/Sentinels of Echo City



I've had a number of OSR games recommended to me, with the big two being Guardians and Sentinels of Echo City. Having given them a lookover, I'm going to say they are both fantastic games. Guardians is based on the original edition of D&D while Sentinels of Echo City is more like early 1980's D&D. 

To be honest, I didn't buy the idea of using D&D as a basis for superhero games. However, both of these systems have implements a simple and elegant way of doing so. Sentinels uses a single class while Guardians uses multiple classes to represent characters such as gadgeteers, martial artists, power specialists, etc. I find myself a little partial to Guardians - mainly due to the implementation of multiple classes and what appears to be a more moderate power curve.

Supers!



Supers! is one of those games I've had a digital copy on my cloud drive for years without ever giving it more than a basic look. 

Supers!, much to my surprise, has a bit of a resemblance to the D6 system. Characters are surprisingly freeform, with the only locked stats being various resistances a character has. They also have fairly open aptitudes and powers. All of these are ranked with D6. One thing I really liked is a character can use any power, resistance, or attribute to resist an attack. The catch is, with a few exceptions, a character can only use a given ability once per round for this purpose. This would seem to require an interesting amount of creativity instead of the usual attack-dodge-dodge-attack sequence. I can picture Daredevil using his radar sense to dodge one attack, whipping out his billy club to deflect another, etc. 

BASH!



BASH! is the final game I'm considering and the second game whose title has an exclamation point. Must be a superhero thing. Character have three stats is BASH!: brawn, agility, and mind, rated on a scale of 1 to 5, as well as powers and skills.

When making a stat roll, you roll 2d6 and multiply it by your stat. This suggests some pretty big gaps between stat ratings, much like Mayfair Games' DC Heroes of the 1980s and early 90s. It's definitely a rules-light game, though a bit crunchier than Supers!

Current Thinking

No, that's not the name of a game... Right now I'm leaning a bit towards Supers!, but I'm still in the process of digesting Daring Comics. 

As far as setting goes, right now I'm leaning pretty heavily towards a pre-modern game. In superhero terms, early Bronze Age at the latest - early 1970s. However, I'm also mulling over a 1930s or 1950s Golden or Silver Age game. I wouldn't be working at exactly emulating the comics - I wouldn't want a Comics Code compliant Silver Age game but rather something more akin to DC's New Frontier, with a more realistic view of the time period without giving up on a general sense of optimism. Similarly the 1930s were a tough time in history, with Depression and Fascism. I like the idea of running a game in a setting not dominated by computers and instant technology and with the social problems of an era being safely in the past.




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