d20 Supers - design questions


Well, that was fun
Staff member
I'm having a bit of a conceptual problem designing this.

The problem is the 'generic' nature of the rules. Thye are supposed to be an add-on to your d20 system game, whatever game that may be. This is achieved by keeping the new mechanics fairly simple - templates and 'superfeats'. No alteration to existing rules, since different games have different rules - but all d20 games can have templates and 'superfeats' added on top.

Howver, here's the problem...

As a 'generic' system, it needs to avoid use of any setting-specific content. Technology, as you know, is a big thing in superhero comic books - but these all depend on a modern day or futuristic setting.

So, by including a large setting on superhero technology (power-armours, ray guns, freeze guns and other staples), we are already devoting a large section of the book to a presumed 'type' of setting.

So - how do you want to see this handled? The options, as I see them are:

1) Include technology. It may take up a lrge part of the book. This means thatpart of the book will be useless to some people who intend to use the rules in a medieval game (for example).

2) Do not include technology. You can grab the tecnology form your d20 game (ray guns from Dragonstar, things from d20 Modern or d20 Judge Dredd or whatever you're playing).

3) Include technology but - here's the odd bit - don't describe it as technology. Instead, just say what it does - without saying how it does it. Your GM can then describe it from a techno viewpoint, a magic viewpoint or whatever he like.

To illustrate whatI mean for this last option, we could take a supers staple - power armour which allows flight. We'd describe it thus (very roughly and stripped down):

Power Armour

This armour gives a DR of xxxx / gives an AC bonus of xxx. It allows you to use the Flight superfeat.

Your GM then adds the rest. e.g., he says:

The flight effect is created via a jetpack fixed to the back of the armour


The flight effect is achieved via magical enchantments in the armour/

Or whatever.

Continuing that thought - perhaps each of the items could have a couple of alternate descriptions designed to cover any genre. The mechanics are the same - it's just the fluff/descriptive text which changes.

Your opinions? What would you like to see us do with this?

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First Post
I was expecting that Tech would be included mostly in its own supplement. Possibly released simultaneously :) , possibly not. :(

I think the question you are asking boils down to: "What's the difference between a Di-Lithium Crystal and an imprisoned Fire Elemental's Soul.

Really, there isn't any differance as far as the mechanics are concered. If you want to make your job harder, then sure, go ahead and give two pieces of flavor text for each Magic Item/Tech Piece. It won't have any effect on the actual rules, so do whatever you want.

Personally, I think the best option for you would be to describe all of the items using flavor text based on a relatively modern/technological setting, then include some sidebars noteing how the descriptions will vary with the setting.

Short Answer: Some of both 1 & 3.

when i think superheroes, I think comic books, most of witch are set in modern times and include super-tech as part of the norm. I think it would be a mistake to make things overly "generic". You obviously need to make it generic to a certain point as you don't have setting specific licences. But you can still maintain a universe similar to those found in the comics. I've actuall benn thinking on the subject of super hero Rpg's for a while now and come to the conclusion that the most difficult part of a D20 superhero game is the class system. It seems to me the best thing would be a single base class, with templates based on the campaign/heroes over all power level. Essentally everyone would start of with the simple base line then add a template of some sort that determaned the type, amount, and intesity of thier super powers.

whoops mind wandered a little on that one, sorry. The point I wanted to chime in on is that the "Tech-dependant" hero is a staple of comics thus making it nessasary to include some super-tech info.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

I agree wholeheartedly with Sir Osis. When I think of Supers, I think of moden (or near modern) day. I think its nice that you're trying to make the game useable in multiple genres, Morrus, but from my POV, when I want to play a supers game, I'm going to play a supers game, not add it on top of my fantasy game.

With that said, I perfer option 1 that you gave us and my second choice would be an option 4: don't include technology in the book but sell it as a supplement. Of course, then you're will be accused of being a massive corporate entity making us open our wallets a second time :)


Registered User
I agree they should be separate. I can plug in my own weapons, armors, etc. A separate book is fine, I guess, but there's plenty of guns and power armors available already.

Psychotic Dreamer

First Post
I like the idea of having the technology, but don't describe it as tech. So that would be a vote for option 3, but obviously whatever you do will be fine. Personally I want to use it in both a fantasy setting and in Dragonstar.


I think that's the way. You shouldn't do your book too generic, becaus emost of people don't like too generic stuff. So you should have an assumption. For example, I'd do:

When the character 'buys' a power, if can take it with the 'focus' modification. Without it, the power in inherent to the character, with the 'focus', the character actives the power using an object.
For the object, you can presume a technological gadget, and give some alternatives. But the mechanics should be the same, with and without focus.

So you describe the power mechanically, and you give some possibilities for the power 'effect' without and with focus.
I know I don't explain myself very well, so I give you and example:

Energy Blast


The character can shot rays of energy doing XXX energy damage, with a xxx ROF and a range increment of XXX, and other game mechanics here

Possible effects without focus:
*Energy blast form character's hands
*Optical blast from character's eyes
*Sonic blast from character's mouth
*(CENSORED) blast form character's (CENSORED)

Possible focus:
*A high tech handgun
*A power armor weapon system
*A magic rod
*A magic ring
*An techno-arcane hand-held device

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