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    Default Best Superhero RPG

    I'm looking for a good superhero RPG to play with my gaming club.

    I was sadly not impressed by Mutants and Masterminds, with its confusing non-hp damage system and its incapability of making balanced play, what with the possiblity of creating a completely unhittable bad ass at the starting recommended powerlevel among other factors.

    I also dislike the feature of certain superhero RPGs where 2 points makes you olympic athlete fast and able to dead lift 300 lbs easy, and 4 points allows you to lift an entire island fortress and circumvent the globe faster that you can say "broken advancement scale"

    can anyone help me find a well balanced Superhero RPG?

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    I'd look into Wild Talents or Godlike. Both of them are about as crunchy as D&D 3.5 Core, if that. Both use the brilliant ORE system which can be sampled in the free game Nemesis, though they use a very different incarnation. It uses a pseudo-Hp system, and is very straightforward in how it works. Moreover, it is reasonably "balanced", even if you choose to run the boring, combat only campaign where that tends to be a big issue in the superhero genre.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    What do you mean psuedo-hp? how does that work?


    crunchy?

    Yeah, i try to stay away from pure combat. When i'm a player, i like to focus on character development.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mastergilgamesh View Post
    What do you mean psuedo-hp? how does that work?


    crunchy?

    Yeah, i try to stay away from pure combat. When i'm a player, i like to focus on character development.
    Pseudo-hp: In this case, that basically means hp that can take both shock (nonlethal) and kill (lethal) damage, which means it isn't strictly HP, per se. Moreover, it is divided up by body part, though there are only 6 body parts, and the character sheet has them clearly delineated, so it is fairly simple still.

    Crunchy: "Crunch" is a measure of mechanical complexity within a system. For instance, D&D 3.5 has more crunch than D&D 4e or Mutants and Masterminds, both of which have way more crunch than, say Capes or Spirit of the Century, both of which have way more crunch than Wushu or Risus.


    As a rule, if combat is avoided enough, or simply not the focus of the game, game balance is less of an issue. There are, obviously, exceptions, but the general pattern is that very specific games break more easily. Godlike and Wild Talents survive even under these conditions, meaning they are very balanced most of the time.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    Although it those sound great, i'd prefer something that can be tracked with simple numbers, and can you give me an example as to how they are balanced?

    and thank you for the geek vocab lesson,

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    I'll suggest Icons (as always). It's made by the same game designer as M&M (Steven Kenson), but he goes in a wildly different direction with this system (a bit lighter, more emphasis on roleplaying, less on math - and the mechanics themselves show no resemblance whatsoever to M&M) and, from what I've seen, has done an excellent job on 'balance'. From what you've said in this thread, I honestly think you would enjoy it.

    I know that I seriously dislike M&M, and I do enjoy Icons - not much more testimony I can give than that.
    Last edited by Xefas; 2011-08-20 at 01:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    Superhero games have to offer a large variety of options by default. In other words, you either get something very rules-light or something easy to break. And since M&M is a game that assumes the group will make characters together and nobody will try to break the game, I'd say the problem is less with the system and more with how you approached it.

    Just how did you make that unhittable badass anyway? I have a suspicion that rules misinterpretation were at play.

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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Xefas View Post
    I'll suggest Icons (as always). It's made by the same game designer as M&M (Steven Kenson), but he goes in a wildly different direction with this system (a bit lighter, more emphasis on roleplaying, less on math - and the mechanics themselves show no resemblance whatsoever to M&M) and, from what I've seen, has done an excellent job on 'balance'. From what you've said in this thread, I honestly think you would enjoy it.

    I know that I seriously dislike M&M, and I do enjoy Icons - not much more testimony I can give than that.
    +1 to this.

    I have some experience running Icons, and while it like any other roleplaying system can be broken, it is easy to modify problematic characters to be less so. Also the system leaves a lot of room to make a character your own. Two characters wiht the same stats and powers could be described in a way so completely different that only the mechanics reveal that their powers are the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Superhero games have to offer a large variety of options by default. In other words, you either get something very rules-light or something easy to break. And since M&M is a game that assumes the group will make characters together and nobody will try to break the game, I'd say the problem is less with the system and more with how you approached it.

    Just how did you make that unhittable badass anyway? I have a suspicion that rules misinterpretation were at play.
    my friend put as many points as he could into his defense to make invulnerability, and so any attack was pretty much gauranteed to miss or do nothing to him, that power in and of itself is game breaking...

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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    Immunity to all damage effects costs 80 points (or 40 points if the DM only uses nonlethal damage), and even then you still can be targetted by status effects and need to spend even more points to be immune to them. It can be broken but it also costs so much that you can't actually do a lot.
    And yeah, M&M is a game where the "it's in a book, so I can take it" approach is. Simply. Not. Valid. The DM must oversee the character creation process to make sure everyone stays on a similar level and nobody tries to pull off any ridiculous cheese.

    You want simple and hard to break, go with Risus. It's extremely rules-right, probably a bit too rules-light for my tastes, but due to this simplicity game balance is pretty much guaranteed.

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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    I would suggest savage worlds with its superhero expansion, its fast furious fun as they say. Its not a very complicated system but its robust enough to give you all the options you need. My party is currently having a blast with the Necessary evil setting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mastergilgamesh View Post
    I was sadly not impressed by Mutants and Masterminds
    Truly, this is sad.

    with its confusing non-hp damage system
    I wouldn't say it's confusing, though certainly not what most people are used to.
    a) You get hit.
    b) You roll toughness save DC = 15 + damage rank of attack.
    c) Succeed, no damage! Fail by 5 or less, bruise. Fail by 6-10, stunned. Fail by 10-15, staggered. Fail by 16+, unconscious.
    d) Each bruise nets you a -1 to subsequent toughness saves.
    The end.

    HOWEVER, in the Mastermind's Manual, there is a variant for using HP instead of toughness saves. So if one damage system doesn't work for you, there is a second, more familiar option.

    and its incapability of making balanced play, what with the possiblity of creating a completely unhittable bad ass at the starting recommended powerlevel
    Many things are limited by your power level, including Defense. Assume starting at 10, your defense is max 10+10=20. With tradeoffs with 0 toughness, your defense is 10+20=30. Difficult to hit? Yes. Impossible? Not even close. Plus your toughness is now 0, so you might be hard to hit, but you've got a glass jaw and will go down pretty quickly when you are. And you've spent 40 of your 150 points.

    Yes, you can take Immunities to circumvent the low toughness. Immunities are expensive.

    So yes, you can make a nigh-invulnerable character. Unfortunately, while he can't be stopped, he also won't be able to DO much of anything, because he's spent all his points on being impervious to harm.

    I also dislike the feature of certain superhero RPGs where 2 points makes you olympic athlete fast and able to dead lift 300 lbs easy, and 4 points allows you to lift an entire island fortress and circumvent the globe faster that you can say "broken advancement scale"
    M&M's advancement scale was reined in significantly in 3rd edition.

    Unfortunately, I don't have any other suggestions for you. M&M is the first and only superhero RPG I've played, and I'm a fan (can you tell?!). I probably won't sway you back into the fold, but just pointing out that some of your issues with the system may be exaggerated or overlooking certain things.
    Last edited by prufock; 2011-08-22 at 12:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    My group has used GURPS on more than one occasion for playing a Supers oriented game and it's generally worked out fairly well.

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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    Villains and Vigilantes is a pretty fun and well-made superheroic game. While you can't as a rule end up as powerful as Superman without have a several hundred-point character (most PCs start at 135), you do get a decent array of abilities without having to have endless flaws like some games (Champions, I'm looking at you!). All abilities are customizable in any way as long as you pay the points, and limitations make them cheaper. Also, instead of just picking powers, they are rolled for randomly (though you can choose the type), which leads to much more unique heroes than just creating Batman with slightly different flavor text.

    The downside is that the game does call for a lot of math when determining things like Hit Points, Carrying Capacity, and Initiative. Still, if you have a calculator handy, it's not that bad, and more than made up for by how easy it is to create unique heroes and villains.

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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    Depends on what you're looking for in the game.

    For just a story telling, comic book experience, I'd recommend the indie game Capes. It's essentially a shared story telling experience that is quite entertaining if you're creative. It's not really an RPG though.

    If you like RPG games that get more crunchy, I'd head for Hero system. It's all crunch, and it's . . . infuriating. Need a freakin' math degree to understand it.

    Palladium Hero's Unlimited is, IME, a very good game, but be forewarned, it's from the 70's and is a little anti-balance in the modern sense of the word. It relies on the GM/DM to create balance, not the ruleset. But it's very nice in that you can create most any hero you can imagine within reason.
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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    Actually if Immunity (All Damage) was your only power, you'd still have 70 points left to play with in a PL10 game, which isn't terrible. Opponents would just just need to focus on Will or Fort save effects or, alternatively, the GM would have to laugh in your face at character creation.
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    My personal recommendation is Truth and Justice.

    Here's the rundown on it:

    It's designed to be rules-light and easy to pick up and play. It's got a good list of powers to start with but the assumption is usually that you'll be thinking up your own powers or tinkering with existing ones. It's pretty difficult to "break" the system.

    Gameplay is based heavily on the "comic-book" style rather than the realistic style. There's a system to let you do "power stunts" to use one power as another for short periods. Hero Points are rewarded that let you give yourself temporary power boosts or luck.

    One thing I like a lot is that it's Disadvantage/Weakness system is pretty much impossible to abuse. Instead of providing you with extra points to create a character, a power limitation or vulnerability will grant additional hero points any time they come up in play. So you never need to worry about figuring out how common limitations/flaws are going to be and how many points to award.

    I also like the fact that although the game includes methods for gaining new skills/abilities it doesn't require you to do that and your hero's stats can remain basically the same throughout the whole game without any real disadvantage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by beyond reality View Post
    My personal recommendation is Truth and Justice.

    Here's the rundown on it:

    ...

    Gameplay is based heavily on the "comic-book" style rather than the realistic style. There's a system to let you do "power stunts" to use one power as another for short periods. Hero Points are rewarded that let you give yourself temporary power boosts or luck.

    One thing I like a lot is that it's Disadvantage/Weakness system is pretty much impossible to abuse. Instead of providing you with extra points to create a character, a power limitation or vulnerability will grant additional hero points any time they come up in play. So you never need to worry about figuring out how common limitations/flaws are going to be and how many points to award.

    I also like the fact that although the game includes methods for gaining new skills/abilities it doesn't require you to do that and your hero's stats can remain basically the same throughout the whole game without any real disadvantage.
    This sounds awfully familiar, but I can't think of from where...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    This sounds awfully familiar, but I can't think of from where...
    Icons probably. Or Mutants and Masterminds.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Icons probably. Or Mutants and Masterminds.
    Thanks for explaining the joke.

    It was M&M, though. If it was Icons, I wouldn't have snipped the "rules-light" and "easy to pick up and play" paragraph.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamlet View Post
    If you like RPG games that get more crunchy, I'd head for Hero system. It's all crunch, and it's . . . infuriating. Need a freakin' math degree to understand it.
    If by "math degree" you meant, "add integers, round, and multiply & divide by decimals", I guess. You just need to be able to do a lot of it. There's a reason HERO was one of the first systems to market chargen software, and came on a 5 1/4 floppy in some later printings of the "Big Blue Book".

    Is it crunchy? One of the crunchiest. Whether that's a feature (where I stand) or flaw (more than a few people) is a matter of opinion. You can build virtually anything in HERO. The thing some people don't like is that you have to build virtually everything.

    Most of the other superheroic systems I've used are older (insert "Get off my lawn!" joke here). The old Marvel FASERIP has its charms, as does the old so-called 9-stat DCU system. Both have the benefit of scaling well to their respective universe, with the important qualification that if you use the DCU one know that the equipment rules are busted in the unusable sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheEmerged View Post
    Is it crunchy? One of the crunchiest. Whether that's a feature (where I stand) or flaw (more than a few people) is a matter of opinion. You can build virtually anything in HERO. The thing some people don't like is that you have to build virtually everything.
    You can build virtually anything in GURPS, or Fudge, or Fate, and it can be done much faster than in HERO. The thing people don't like is that HERO requires the most arduous method towards that goal.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Actually if Immunity (All Damage) was your only power, you'd still have 70 points left to play with in a PL10 game, which isn't terrible. Opponents would just just need to focus on Will or Fort save effects or, alternatively, the GM would have to laugh in your face at character creation.
    That's just the thing - there are always alternatives. To truly be untouchable, you'd want Immunity to Fort, Ref, and Will effects along with damage, which is another NINETY POINTS, putting you over the general 150 at PL10. Even if you're using nonlethal-only, you've got a scant 20 points left over.

    And even then, depending on the descriptors, your powers may be able to be countered. And immunities don't prevent you from being grappled, or being flung around telekinetically, or...

    Point is there are always options. Challenging the character doesn't always mean knocking him unconscious.
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    Default Re: Best Superhero RPG

    I ran a Heroes Unlimited campaign, and it was quite entertaining. But as with any Palladium game, you have to mind the power creep. Alot of options and definately not as crunchy as GURPS or Hero system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunarix View Post
    I ran a Heroes Unlimited campaign, and it was quite entertaining. But as with any Palladium game, you have to mind the power creep. Alot of options and definately not as crunchy as GURPS or Hero system.
    In my experience with the system, there's always a way a crafty GM can smack down even the strongest, most out of line player characters with some of the simplest, quiest little tricks.

    It's astonishing what a villain with the "Imortal" power is capable of, as long as he's not written up as a toe-to-toe smash and crash character. A quiet chessmaster behind the scenes who cannot be physically killed, but is head of a huge, far reaching evil organization that is designed to overthrow the major governments of the world and replace them with his own vision of utopia. The players might smack him down early on, perhaps even in the first couple of sessions, only to have him come back again and again (depending on how his immortality works) as a major thorn in their sides. No matter how hard the mega-hero hits it, that's just not the right answer and will probably make things worse in the end.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prufock View Post
    That's just the thing - there are always alternatives. To truly be untouchable, you'd want Immunity to Fort, Ref, and Will effects along with damage, which is another NINETY POINTS, putting you over the general 150 at PL10. Even if you're using nonlethal-only, you've got a scant 20 points left over.

    And even then, depending on the descriptors, your powers may be able to be countered. And immunities don't prevent you from being grappled, or being flung around telekinetically, or...

    Point is there are always options. Challenging the character doesn't always mean knocking him unconscious.
    Considering you've dumped every point you have into being immune to a bunch of stuff, good luck stopping the bad guy, saving innocent civilians, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diarmuid View Post
    My group has used GURPS on more than one occasion for playing a Supers oriented game and it's generally worked out fairly well.
    Really? I found GURPS completely unsuited to supers. How odd. This would probably be the *last* game I would suggest for supers.

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