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Thread: Superhero TTRPG

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Superhero TTRPG

    I'm DMing a D&D group and they're getting kind of ragged in the dungeon they're in and may not make it out.

    If they don't I was going to see about directing them toward something outside of Fantasy.
    Shadowrun is my first choice but the rules are very crunchy and I'm not sure my players are into the life enough yet to get into something that heavy.

    I also considered a Superhero Game of some sort.
    I've played Aberrant and the Rifts setting.

    Of the various Superhero settings and games, which would you most recommend?
    I'd like Something that won't kill a newbie with action math.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Since you've tried RIFTS, which is now a Savage Worlds property, why not try Savage Supers? The PDF is actually freely available; the devs released it a while back to the general public. (Legally, for clarity for the mods, it's not some rip that somebody just uploaded).

    There is of course always Mutants and Masterminds. If you stick to around PL 8 it's not too complicated. 3e is a bit more streamlined, but IMO 2e is better balanced by default (3e requires a lot of work on the GM's part to balance encounters).
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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    If you're into teen drama superheroes, Masks: A New Generation.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    In my opinion you can't beat the old FASERIP Marvel Super Heroes game. It's consided a classic of the genre and rightly so.

    It's long out of print, but there are multiple clones/remakes of it around that you can get.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Mutants and Masterminds 3e is not just a good superhero system, it's one of the best action-oriented gaming systems I've played, period. The damage mechanic is kinda weird at first, but you can keep the math on the GM side pretty easily if you want*. In play it's a fairly straightforward d20 system, with all sorts of familiar trappings. You can write out a character in D&D-style language**, and really the only sticking point will be "wait, it says I can jump how far?"

    In character creation... a little bit more of a mixed bag. It's a point-buy system, rather than class-based, and there's not really a list of set superpowers to pick from. Not in the way that, say, a D&D Sorcerer has a list of spells. Instead, the system gives you building blocks-- around thirty Effects that provide the basic rules for how, say, imposing a status condition or conjuring a force field work, along with a slightly longer list of Modifiers that tweak those. For example, instead of just learning the "Fireball" spell, you'd start with the Damage effect, and add the "Ranged" and "Area" modifiers. When you get used to it, it's a phenomenally powerful build-your-own-ability system, and about as well balanced as something like that can be. But... the key is "when you get used to it"-- figuring out how to determine the cost of a power can trip people up, and learning to think in the "Effect + Modifier = Power" paradigm can be a rough adjustment.

    And GMing it can, indeed, be a pain. Not really in the balance sense-- I've never had any problems with that-- but more in the way of scope. I've seen a character bypass an entire "dungeon" full of traps and hazards by turning himself into radio waves and jumping through the villain's cell phone. Key NPCs can be tracked down in seconds-- in-game seconds-- because someone has long-range telepathic senses. The game is really, really good at making characters feel like they've got super-powers, and does a lot to reward thinking up clever ways to use your abilities. If you're used to thinking in comic book tropes, it's amazing; if you're not, it can be a rough adjustment.




    *Instead of damage being a die roll that subtracts from hit points, it's a type of saving throw. The more powerful the attack, the higher the save DC; failure imposes cumulative penalties to said save, with extra penalties if you fail really badly. But as long as your players can remember their save bonus and DCs, you should be fine.

    **I use a few houserules vis-a-vis damage and defenses, so those bits won't match with the normal rules.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    So, my go-to suggestions for Superhero games have always been either DC Heroes or Marvel Superheros (TSR...now FASERIP). DC Universe doesn't look too bad...it's WEG's D6 system with Superhero flavoring.

    DC Heroes is what Mutants & Master-Minds tries to be.
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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    If I want medium Crunch I go with Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, if I want high Crunch I go with Mutants and Masterminds 3e.

    I have been looking for a supers RPG with some mechanics to make playing out the secret-identity stuff more engaging but haven't found one yet unfortunately.
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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    I'd actually use a generic for this - by which I mean one of my two active campaigns, right now, is a superhero game in Cortex Prime, a generic system. It's a generic system that has a direct predecessor that was a superhero system (Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, which is no longer in print), but that's not how I'm using it.

    That said MHR, Icons, Masks, M&M, Spectaculars, Sentinels RPG, all are solid. There's a few things to avoid (Heroes Unlimited), but there's generally options out there. Which option is best depends on various preferences, especially around narrative vs. simulationist systems, degree of mechanical crunch desired, how much prep you want to do, and how much directly usable material you want made for you.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    M&M 2nd or 3rd Edition are solid choices. Both require a lot of GM work to keep things moving, but only because its possible to make broken characters by accident. Does a player like Multiple Man from the X-Men? Sounds reasonable right? Well, that character just broke the action economy and gets 30 turns per combat. The books are usually pretty good about calling out abilities that can be potential problems and giving some advice about how to handle them, but the biggest things to look out for are not requiring a character to be available to punch in the face (ie the bathroom mentalist that participates from the comfort of a bubble bath) and anything that gets more than lets say three turns per combat round.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    The Bathroom Menalist is not a term I had seen before, but I still shutter when I remember a character that fit that discription. Although it was semi-intentionally broken.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Both require a lot of GM work to keep things moving, but only because its possible to make broken characters by accident.
    I'd actually argue the opposite. You can make broken characters in M&M 3e, but it's pretty obvious to everyone when you are. A Remote Sensing/Perception Damage combo is awful... but it was right there on your sheet. Concealment 10/Subtle 2 attack powers are pretty abusive... but they're not going to take anyone by surprise. Unlike, say, 3.5 D&D, where it's very possible to not realize that a given option is over/underpowered until the dice come out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Porcupinata View Post
    In my opinion you can't beat the old FASERIP Marvel Super Heroes game. It's consided a classic of the genre and rightly so.

    It's long out of print, but there are multiple clones/remakes of it around that you can get.
    I'm going to also jump on the FASERIP system.

    And, in addition to the various clones, it is also legally available for download from classicmarvelforever.com.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I'd actually argue the opposite. You can make broken characters in M&M 3e, but it's pretty obvious to everyone when you are. A Remote Sensing/Perception Damage combo is awful... but it was right there on your sheet. Concealment 10/Subtle 2 attack powers are pretty abusive... but they're not going to take anyone by surprise. Unlike, say, 3.5 D&D, where it's very possible to not realize that a given option is over/underpowered until the dice come out.
    There are some obvious broken stuff, sure.

    But I don't think the average player is going to realize from charop (especially as a new player) how broken powers like Clone or Variable can be and may take them just because they really like Multiple Man or Doctor Strange.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    There are some obvious broken stuff, sure.

    But I don't think the average player is going to realize from charop (especially as a new player) how broken powers like Clone or Variable can be and may take them just because they really like Multiple Man or Doctor Strange.
    Eh. Variable has an extended sidebar about how it's potentially broken, and loop-Summoning requires playing with weird Affects Only Others junk-- Summons are explicitly not allowed to have minions.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Quote Originally Posted by lightningcat View Post
    The Bathroom Menalist is not a term I had seen before, but I still shutter when I remember a character that fit that discription. Although it was semi-intentionally broken.
    In the Hero system I've seen it referred to as the margarita man build. Sit on the beach, sip your drink, mind control someone on the other side of the planet. But it's pretty point intensive to make it completely undetectable, unnoticed, and sufficently penetrating+cumulative. And it involves a couple of abilities with stop sign warnings on them.

    Generally the supers genera just requires a bit more GM involvement and players buying in to the tropes than the standard kill-n-loot fantasy murder spree games.

    I think player buy in may be more important than GM oversight in some ways. It's still pretty easy for players to sink everything into combat abilities and neglect everything else. You'll notice little warning signs like PCs ignoring bombs on a stadium full of people in favor of chasing & killing an escaping bad guy. Once the PC body count exceeds the villain body count it's time to have a little OOC chat about what they want from the game.
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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    In the Hero system I've seen it referred to as the margarita man build. Sit on the beach, sip your drink, mind control someone on the other side of the planet. But it's pretty point intensive to make it completely undetectable, unnoticed, and sufficently penetrating+cumulative. And it involves a couple of abilities with stop sign warnings on them.

    Generally the supers genera just requires a bit more GM involvement and players buying in to the tropes than the standard kill-n-loot fantasy murder spree games.
    M&M has the same point cost on that kind of mind control. But remote senses (which don't cost very much) combined with perception range attacks (which cost a relatively large amount) means a character can take a bubble bath and still be fighting Magneto.

    I think player buy in may be more important than GM oversight in some ways. It's still pretty easy for players to sink everything into combat abilities and neglect everything else. You'll notice little warning signs like PCs ignoring bombs on a stadium full of people in favor of chasing & killing an escaping bad guy. Once the PC body count exceeds the villain body count it's time to have a little OOC chat about what they want from the game.

    Buy is definitely the most important part. Are we emulating The Authority, or Justice League?

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    To say nothing of how fast superpowers can warp a setting out of all recognition.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Muntants and Masterminds honestly feels more like a dev kit then a game. You get some core abilities and then make all the balance choices in house, and it requires a lot of system mastery to play. Some people love it, some players will be completely baffled and basically have the DM make their character for them and not really know how anything works at any given time.
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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Muntants and Masterminds honestly feels more like a dev kit then a game. You get some core abilities and then make all the balance choices in house, and it requires a lot of system mastery to play. Some people love it, some players will be completely baffled and basically have the DM make their character for them and not really know how anything works at any given time.
    Building a basic character in M&M isn't that hard. Re-creating Superman, Spider-Man, the X-Men (the X-Men are especially good example), or Batman are all pretty straight forwad. Most of the archetypes in the books represent at least one character you're familiar with.

    That said building a character is the hardest part. One its done actual play is relatively easy. Roll at D20 + Mods compare to target. In many instances its d20 and a single value, such as the attack roll: there isn't that much you can do to modify the attack roll in most cases.

    Building a points efficient character however takes a bit more system mastery, but efficiency is about getting everything you want not just making it work.

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Hiya!

    A bit late to the party, but still...

    I'll second (third? fourth? whatever'th...) FASERIP Marvel ("Marvel Super Heroes Advanced Set"; and yeah, someone already mentioned you can get it ALL, legal and free, at classicmarvelforever.com ). It's colourful and "simple but with complexity...if you want it". When we first started playing it we were doing about 50% 'wrong'...but, surprisingly, the game still ran like gangbusters! :) Once we started to pick up on a missed sentence here, or a mis-remembered rule there...it really does all fall into place VERY well! The only thing we did was when we were making heroes (which we did...a LOT!), we would decide on a "power level" by equating it to a Marvel comic series. So we'd say "Ok, I have an idea for a couple games. Everyone make X-Men-Level hero's", or we'd say "I have a cosmic-level adventure; make Fantastic Four level guys with ONE free power at Class 1000", that kind of thing. Made it a lot easier than just doing random and ending up with one Hero who could go toe-to-to with Thor and another one who would barely survive a battle with Forbush-Man. ;)

    If you are looking for generic... I've found SUPERS! Revised Edition to be absolutely AMAZING! You can get it PDF and/or PoD from Drivethru. It uses d6's and a basic Target Number, plus a "margin of success" system. Most of the time you'll be tossing between 2 and 5 d6's, so no "handfuls of dice" unless you want to play really powerful heroes. I'd equate the standard 20D ("20 Dice worth of stuff"; how it determines power level I guess you could say) to be equivalent to X-Men level (I guess Phoenix and Colossus might be closer to 25D, but still). If you want "Superman" level...be ready for about 54D! O_O ... ... Anyway, the system is very "narrative" driven, with story and characterization taking the stage, and it has some nice ways of helping the Players 'determine' just how bad-ass, lucky, unlucky or whatever, their character is. For example, when you take damage, it is the Player who decides which of his 'stats/abilities' actually takes the damage...and, if it fits the narrative, a character could get hit with a bus and take 3D damage (which is a fair bit for 20D characters) and have 1D damage go to his Composure, and 2D to his Will...narrating/explaining it as the sudden realization that he could have just DIED and just how powerful/psychotic/terrifying the villain is (e.g., the Hero is 'loosing their cool' or starting to panic and second guess themselves, etc). And how the system handles "mooks/citizens/thugs/henchmen/minions/etc"? Easily the best system for super heroes I've seen to date (and I've seen my fair share of super hero rpg's in my 40 years of being a DM). Short version: "mooks" (say, gang members, or faceless mercenaries in ski masks and dirt-bike padding) have a simple "D" rating for a group of up to 6 (or 'per' 6 I guess). For example, your street-level hero (think Daredevil) stumbles upon a drug deal between 1 misguided citizen and 5 members of a gang. Your hero leaps down from the fire escape to engage. You roll your characters "Martial Arts Master" skill (not even a POWER!) of 3D and get 14. The 5 gang members have a SINGLE RATING of 1D! For ALL of them. Total...not each! The Judge rolls for the thugs just for fun and gets a 5. Well, 14 is 9 points over 5, so it's not only a success, it's a Major Success...meaning the character does 2D worth of damage to the group. "Nightwhisper leaps down from the shadows, landing between the citizen and the dealers. 'Run', he says to the citizen, then turns and leaps into action...he punches one gang member with an uppercut, leaping into a round-house kick that levels two more, then into a leg sweep taking out the forth. For the fifth, Nighwhisper rushes up, grabs him by the collar and slams him into the wall....'You picked the wrong neighborhood to deal in, punk!'. Finishing with a headbutt". Done. Yes, your hero just took out 5 gang members in three seconds flat. How? Your 2D damage takes out their 1D rating...so they all go down. The player gets to describe how. Hows THAT for heroic? :D

    Anyway...getting to long. Point is, if you want to use the Marvel universe...there really is no better game than the FASERIP version of Marvel. The sheer amount of universe, hero, villain and historic information for the Marvel comics is...vast. Just look at classicmarvelforever.com and you'll see. But if you want to craft your own "supers universe" with your own world, reasoning for supers, gods, mythology, groups, aliens, and everything else... you simply can not go wrong with SUPERS!
    ^_^

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    Default Re: Superhero TTRPG

    Quote Originally Posted by pming View Post
    Anyway...getting to long. Point is, if you want to use the Marvel universe...there really is no better game than the FASERIP version of Marvel. The sheer amount of universe, hero, villain and historic information for the Marvel comics is...vast. Just look at classicmarvelforever.com and you'll see. But if you want to craft your own "supers universe" with your own world, reasoning for supers, gods, mythology, groups, aliens, and everything else... you simply can not go wrong with SUPERS!
    There are also two Facebook groups turning out high quality FASERIP Marvel supplements as well. Some are on classicmarvelforever.com; I don't know if all of them are.

    So there's new material coming out every month in case you're worried about dated materials or a lack of new materials.

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    I was a Huge MSHRPG fan back in the day. I always wished it had been developed further and made a little more crunchy/granular. The leap from the original Basic set to the Advanced set was awesome! I've seen a couple adaptations for it since, but nothing "official".

    I know that M&M is the current most popular supers game. I like a lot of it; it seems like an effort to wed MSH to D20, which is not a bad thing IMHO. The problem is, I feel like they started going off the D20 reservation right from v.1, and Completely left it by v.3.

    A game that I Really wish had gone farther was Silver Age Sentinels. In so many ways, it was D20 superheroes! And I especially liked how the strength levels were sort of keyed to the STR scores and lifting limits from D&D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalkarts View Post
    I'm DMing a D&D group and they're getting kind of ragged in the dungeon they're in and may not make it out.

    If they don't I was going to see about directing them toward something outside of Fantasy.
    Shadowrun is my first choice but the rules are very crunchy and I'm not sure my players are into the life enough yet to get into something that heavy.

    I also considered a Superhero Game of some sort.
    I've played Aberrant and the Rifts setting.

    Of the various Superhero settings and games, which would you most recommend?
    I'd like Something that won't kill a newbie with action math.
    Most the games you mentioned have nothing to do with what a superhero RPG is considered.

    Savage Rifts exist, which is Rifts but with the easier to use Savage Worlds system. Not a superhero RPG.

    Mutants and Masterminds and Hero are the big superhero RPGs that I know of.

    GURPS can do, the Super Hack can do it, and I would think you could reflavor Godbound to do it. I would personally use Savage Worlds with the Superpowers companion, but that is just because I am a big Savage Worlds fan.

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