View Full Version : Original System A system for superheroes

2015-12-30, 01:10 AM
I've been working on this system for a while now and I finally have it ready to where you could character create. I haven't had a chance to playtest it really, especially not vigorously, and the combat rules aren't recorded yet (zones are involved), but I wanted to know what people thought about it. Many of the combat rules are implied by the character creation rules.

One note that has come up: A baseline Form with no Mods seems to be no better than a Power at first glance. The combat system will remedy this with the following rule: Heroes may when using a Form spend energy to add their Rank Die to the Form an additional time. They may not do this when using a Power. This rule is hinted at by a couple of Mods.

Google Published here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KXSezrOFFn_KMXg0bkvX5zEYjbDKN5zPi8Tj-m1_BGc/pub

Feedback welcome, and feel free to playtest it if you like (use whatever combat rules seem to make sense)! After the New Year, look to Myth-Weavers for ShiftSlash (my name there) to hopefully host a playtesting session complete with my version of combat rules!

2015-12-30, 10:39 AM
First thing's first - the document does need some cleaning up regarding grammar/readability (i.e. words cutting off at odd places). It's not incomprehensible, and for a first draft it's fine, but definitely something to pay attention to.

The system seems well-suited to superheroes, of course, but also to other genres where cinematic action and "you succeed, but..." narration is common.

I'm curious about the Rank system - basing it off the size of the area one protects seems rather odd to me. What inspired you to take that route?

Your tag system reminds me of Mutants and Masterminds, but it makes so much more sense. It's certainly more cohesive - less an add-on and more a key part of the system. Kudos.

Do the neutral modifiers have a price, or are they free? It causes a loophole with Minor De/Buff and Effect Only which lets you grab an infinite amount of Minor De/Buffs.

Other than that...the Form system is brilliant. Marks are fun - I'm imagining something like Lux's Illuminate debuff in League of Legends. Of course, that uses Debuff as well - probably Minor, not sure really - and Stacking. It's just amazing what you can do with this. Traits are much in the same vein - even moreso because each has a cost to pay for its benefits. I like the contrast between Conditional and Frailty - one is about frequency, the other severity, but both have a purpose.

All in all, there are a few things that need clarification or adjustment, but frankly it's a fantastic supers system and, likely, a great generic system.

2015-12-30, 12:30 PM
Thanks! I haven't done a good proofread on it as yet, so I expected that to crop up.

I went with the power level being based on the size of territory you protect because heroes in comics tend to have fuzzy weight classes but pretty clear boundaries of what they deal with. Certain heroes are clearly more powerful than others, but take on lesser threats (not necessarily in an individual threat level sense, but in a scale of threat to world sense). This also allows heroes with "mundane" superpowers to function alongside heroes with "fantastical" superpowers with no change. If reflavoring for another cinematic-style game, rank could just be relabeled as a generic level system, a hierarchy of fencing mastery, or whatever you like. The important thing is that the Ranks occur independent of power type. That way, Batman and Superman can exist on the same heroic team and by this system one will not be more generically powerful than the other.

I added a clause on No Dice that it can only be taken once. Neutral modifiers are intended to be free, either because they add something which has no inherent cost (tags), or because they are their own cost. The cost for No Dice was that you didn't get to roll dice. Taking it more than once wasn't intended.

I was very proud of the tag system, I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for the feedback and when I have a chance I'll do a real gritty proofread!

2015-12-30, 01:16 PM
These guidelines feel a bit too loose. If I'm super strong the system does not seem to differentiate between:

"I pick up the car and throw it"
"I pick up the 16-wheeler and throw it"
"I pick rip the empire state building out of the ground and throw it"
"I pick rip mount everest out of the ground and throw it"

There aren't even the loosest guidelines on what kind of challenges might actually be faced by different ranks, or what kind of die results might result in different degrees of success. It also doesn't provide any guidelines on what the scope of powers might be, or how the adjudicate "relative success".

This stands in stark contrast to the rules which break down things very granularly in terms of how much points each little thing is worth. Is this power legal:

The Supreme Punch
Jose has the SUPREME PUNCH. The Supreme Punch instantly destroys anything he punches.
Tags: Rekt, Owned, #KillsEverything

Like, where are the lines here? Right now this seems like it just kind of reads:

"Choose something you want to do. Roll some dice, add some numbers. Then you do that thing and some other stuff happens" and I get real no sense of flow. It's a whole bunch of points, caveats and terminology around not many concrete applications for them.

If there are guidelines like that they're far too subtlety stated and should be highlighted more directly. These are something I should be able to pick up with a quick at-a-glance read.

2015-12-30, 01:19 PM
Please read the first post. This is an incomplete early draft which has character rules and implied gameplay rules where those are used by characters, but the gameplay rules are coming in a later update. In the example you gave, the building you were trying to rip up would likely have a health bar that you would need to overcome in order to lull it up.

And attacks' effects are restricted: an attack only does damage based on your rank. So if you have a 1d8 rank die, that punch would do 1d8 worth of relative progress or destroying the target (in other words 1d8 damage).

2015-12-30, 01:28 PM
Please read the first post. This is an incomplete early draft which has character rules and implied gameplay rules where those are used by characters, but the gameplay rules are coming in a later update.

What I'm saying I can't understand them by implication either. As a reader I have no sense about how any of this is supposed to function. If this draft although early is something you're putting forward with the thought that's it should be generally comprehensible enough that someone could fill in the gaps and use it, I'm saying that isn't the case for me. The most I can take away from this is that it uses a point-buy based character generation system and as roughly no-fail approach to action resolution.

If these are intended to be the solid fundamentals, the potential user feedback I'm giving is that I can't make heads or tails of them. If these fundamentals are something that are supposed to be roughly usable even absent the details, it may mean that it might be worthwhile to review what the assumptions really makes up the core of the system's play-ability. At least if other feedback mirrors mine. I might just be the odd man out in terms of finding so little to understand here. '

Is this intended to be something of "Playable Alpha" or something else?

2016-01-05, 06:07 PM
I apologize, I misunderstood your post.

I will work on fixing the wording. I drew on games like FATE with this, where character creation can get complicated, but die rolls are truly considered an abstraction. I want a character with Super Strength to be able to, without mandatory purchasing of character options, be able to throw heavy things, break down doors, or punch bad guys, among others. I wanted a simple way to determine how bad each of these things hurts. Essentially, Powers are a way to A: describe your character and B: give him something to default to if his specific abilities don't cover a situation.

At the same time, every hero has signature moves. That's where the Forms come in. They're balanced based off of the Powers, but have much more narrow application. Because they are narrower and the hero will be using them more, Forms are better. They can be used not on the hero's turn, or can be boosted with Energy to be situationally more powerful.

As an example of play, two heroes, one with the power Super Strength, and one with the power Master Hacker are faced with a locked door. Both are Rank 2 (City Hero) for 1d8 power die.

The Super Strength hero doesn't have any Forms that apply. He tries to open the door. The Producer (DM) says that the door will open with no penalty on a 4 or higher. Super Strength is an applicable power because he's planning to break the door open. He rolls 1d8. If he gets a 4 or better, he breaks the door down, no drawback. If he gets less than 4, he opens the door (he is still capable of it because of his power being appropriate) but there's some drawback (determined by the Producer). Maybe the door takes longer to break down. Maybe there's an alarm set off. Maybe the circuitry around the door produces a cloud of smoke, making it hard to see and choking the heroes.

The Master Hacker hero, on the other hand, purchased a Form: Door Cracker. It allows him to open Electronic Locks (this door has one) better. It has one modifier: Strong. He rolls 1d8+2, and decides to guarantee success by spending an energy giving him an extra 1d8. The door gets opened without a hitch. If he rolls extremely well, the Producer can even decide to give him some benefit, like learning the code to instantly open other doors in the base.

The idea is that the heroes are never stopped from accomplishing something which they can use their powers for by anything short of supervillainous levels of opposition. Yes, a door can have that, but I haven't finished the rules for how that works yet (essentially the door is going to be counted as one of the supervillain's minions which will have their own set of rules when I'm done).

This does not mean that heroes can't be stymied by a locked door though. A third hero with Teleportation as his power doesn't have anything that would affect the door. So he uses the rule at the beginning of my document with the d4.

So Supreme Punch might be allowed by the Producer, but at the end of the day, you're still just rolling your rank die when you attempt to destroy something, and the Producer is describing the level to which it is destroyed based on the results and the toughness of the thing destroyed.

If this helped, let me know. I can incorporate some of these examples into my document but I don't want to do it if they aren't sensible to people who aren't me, you know?