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Superhero genre TTRPGs

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What is your go to tabletop RPG for supers? And why have you chosen that one?

 

I want to run one soon and I have three systems to choose from. I like all three and I'm not sure which one to pick. These are what I have...

 

Spectaculars. Very quick, not much depth. Characters can be made in about 5 minutes. The mechanics really lend toward a solid comic book feel. You could, if you want, easily create a new character every session.

 

Sentinel Comics. A lot of design concepts that a very similar to Spectaculars. Characters have more depth and take maybe a half hour to create. You're more invested in your character.

 

Champions (aka HERO System). Old school, crunchy, numbers heavy system. Takes 31 hours to create a character (some exaggeration there). Characters are super exact with little flexibility. Not a quick system to command, but it sure feels great throwing 14, 16, 20 d6 or more when you attack!

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A decent narrative game is Worlds in Peril, which uses Powered by the Apocalypse.  Because it's so rules-light, it depends a lot on GM and player narrative (and trust), and it's harder to replicate the issue-long super fights you may be used to seeing in comic books.  Masks is similar (also PbtA), but is meant to replicate Teen Titans.

 

Mutants & Masterminds was popular among my friends back in the 90s and early 2000s, but I personally didn't care for the d20 adaptation.  It just didn't feel right to me.  My understanding was that Silver Age Sentinels handled the d20 adaptation better.

 

For being an 80s RPG with random chargen, TSR's old Marvel Super Heroes system (FASERIP) was ahead of its time in terms of balancing mechanics vs. narrative, handling comic book action, and handling multiple power levels in the same game.

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Savage Worlds has a an official setting with Super Hero/Villain powers, Necessary Evil. And the Super Power Companion adds super hero specific rules to make your own campaign and characters. Fun fact, one of the lead writers for City of Villains content, Shane Hensley, founded the company and wrote most of the fluff.

Edited by Derek Icelord
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Where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?

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Heroes Unlimited waa an awesome game.

 

The First Edition was probably better than the second, really.  

 

========

 

We played Marvel a lot.  It had the same issue as Traveller.  No advancement system to speak of.

 

Villains and Vigilantes was another go to.  It had the best published adventures.  

Edited by Haijinx
clarity
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5 hours ago, Haijinx said:

We played Marvel a lot.  It had the same issue as Traveller.  No advancement system to speak of.

Marvel did have an advancement system, just a very slow one.  It was slow because you'd like to spend Karma for advancement, but you always needed to spend Karma in large quantities to swing percentile dice rolls.

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I played Champions from first edition and while I'm out of practice, I could probably still get a character written up in 20 minutes.

 

While I haven't had a chance to run it yet, Prowlers & Prowlers Ultimate Edition reminds me of the old days of Champions in presentation and such. Probably because it's got a few old school Hero people involved.  Unfortunately real life has interfered with the release, but they seem to be close and they do have a waiting room edition.

I am friends with the staff, but no other connection other than wanting them to succeed and I do like their game.

 

http://www.evilbeaglegames.com/

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1977703373/prowlers-and-paragons-ultimate-edition

 

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3 hours ago, FrauleinMental said:

Marvel did have an advancement system, just a very slow one.  It was slow because you'd like to spend Karma for advancement, but you always needed to spend Karma in large quantities to swing percentile dice rolls.

Yeah and you needed some goofy amount to advance besides that.

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On 9/19/2020 at 7:24 AM, Haijinx said:

 

Villains and Vigilantes was another go to.  It had the best published adventures.  

V&V - This was my go to back in the 80's,  Numerous and amazing published adventures.   Think that there was a version 2 released in the 2000's or later.  Kind of number crunchy...characters could be wildly powerful at the start or very basic depending on rolls. 

 

TSR Marvel was popular.  Good game overall especially if you could get your hands on the "Ultimate Powers" supplement.

 

Read some Champions and Mutants & Masterminds, both were good, but never got a chance to play them much.

 

For more 'recent' games...

 

If you are a fan of Peter Clines' "Ex-Heroes" series (check it out if you haven't heard of it) try "Rotted Capes".  It is a very odd mash up of Superhero and Zombie SHTF genre.  Little published material, but I enjoyed the concept and game.

 

For something that is closest to COH, in my opinion, try "Brave New World" RPG.  Very similar style with characters using classes along the lines of Scrappers, Tanks, Summoners. etc.  Lots of good meta story.  Good for the read at the very least.  Some goo supplements as well.

 

Then there is the actual COH RPG game that I have seen reference to floating around the internet...but from what I saw, it wasn't fully fleshed out.

 

Grittier and more lethal with potential of serious power creep - "Aberrant" by White Wolf (same guys that published "Vampire").  Good background, lots of storytelling, can be seriously weird at times.  Decent amount of supplemental published material.  Overall enjoyable, but not for the kiddies in my opinion.

 

20 hours ago, lemming said:

While I haven't had a chance to run it yet, Prowlers & Prowlers Ultimate Edition reminds me of the old days of Champions in presentation and such

Looks interesting.  I'll have to keep a watch on the progress.

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Atom Bum -  Rad/Fire Brute
Abyssal - Titan Weapon/Bio Scrapper
Razer's Edge - Katana/Bio Brute
 

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I have fond memories of the AC Comics game Superbabes.

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We used to love Champions.  But really it was too complicated for 13 year olds. 

 

We never played it correctly.   Villains and Vigilantes and Heroes Unlimited were much easier to play.  

 

Marvel was easier to play too but we really got frustrated with the advancement.   It seemed more aimed at you playing known Marvel personalities.  

 

I had PSI World.  But never really played it. 

 

Daredevils was kind of fun.  Our campaign was a sort of Shadow/Green Hornet/esque deal.  

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26 minutes ago, Haijinx said:

Marvel was easier to play too but we really got frustrated with the advancement.   It seemed more aimed at you playing known Marvel personalities.  

I think the licensing agreement had a fair amount to do with that.  The Marvel Heroic Roleplaying system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Heroic_Roleplaying) didn't even have a chargen system built in, so you either played the licensed Marvel characters or you used a third-party mod to do chargen.  Seemed odd for a game that won as many awards as it did.

 

I tried running a GURPS Supers game back in college, but quickly discovered that GURPS breaks down as characters depart from human normal.  GURPS worked well enough for a long-running game I ran during grad school that included wizards, telepaths, and near-ish future technology (investigators running around with laser rifles and throwing spells).

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1 minute ago, FrauleinMental said:

I think the licensing agreement had a fair amount to do with that.  The Marvel Heroic Roleplaying system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Heroic_Roleplaying) didn't even have a chargen system built in, so you either played the licensed Marvel characters or you used a third-party mod to do chargen.  Seemed odd for a game that won as many awards as it did.

 

I tried running a GURPS Supers game back in college, but quickly discovered that GURPS breaks down as characters depart from human normal.  GURPS worked well enough for a long-running game I ran during grad school that included wizards, telepaths, and near-ish future technology (investigators running around with laser rifles and throwing spells).

I wondered about Gurps Supers since those point values would allow you to create badass normal of game RNG breaking proportions if you just pumped them into a none super Gurps character. 

 

You could abuse the unarmed/dodge/parry and guns systems to an insane degree with even a 300 point character.   

 

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6 hours ago, Argent Aegis said:

Then there is the actual COH RPG game that I have seen reference to floating around the internet...but from what I saw, it wasn't fully fleshed out.

 

short form; never got released because cryptic sold coh to ncsoft

 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/10/Eden-Studios/subcategory/57_340/City-Of-Heroes-RPG

 

https://www.superherorpgs.com/city-heroes/

Edited by lemming

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I've played and GM'd an absolute TON of Masks: The New Generation, mainly online of Roll 20. Not only is the game fun and well designed, but as far as universal RPG systems go, PBTA is my favorite, favoring the character and emotion of Roleplaying rather than number crunching. Probably my favorite line from one of my players trying to explain the game to a newcomer..."You aren't fighting with your fists, you're fighting with your feelings". This works especially well for Masks, which is centered on  teen supers like Teen Titans, Young Justice, LSH, New Warriors, etc.

 

 

 

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