Favorite superhero RPGs?

overgeeked

B/X Known World
What makes a good superhero RPG for you? Which ones have you read? Which have you played or run? What do you like about the games, the genre, and the stories? What's your favorite superhero RPG?

Let's see. There's classic TSR Marvel Super Heroes. Marvel SAGA. Marvel Universe. Marvel Heroic RPG. And now Marvel Multiverse RPG. There's DC Heroes. DC Universe. DC Adventures. HERO. Mutants & Masterminds. Capes, Cowls, and Villains Foul. Capes. Capers. Cartoon Action Hour. Champions. City of Mists. Claim the Sky. Brave New World. Above the Earth. BASH. Daring Comics. FIST. Galaxies in Peril. Worlds in Peril. Masks: A New Generation. Golden Heroes. Icons. Superworld. Stuper Powers. Prowlers & Paragons. Rotten Capes. Smallville. Supers. Supercrew. Tiny Supers. Truth & Justice. Underground. Valiant Universe. Venture City Stories. Villains & Vigilantes. Wild Talents. With Great Power.

Then there's all the generic systems that can handle superheroes.
 

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cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I quite liked Marvel Saga back when it came out, and would enjoy a game today if I could get a group together.

Mutants and Masterminds 3e is pretty cool, but it can be a little complicated to get a hero together.

if, however, someone really wanted to play a superhero game and we wanted to get right into it, I'd run ICONs. It's nice and simple, quick to make a hero, and if you really want, it translates the old marvel RPG easily in the system since the numbers are essentially the feeble to unearthly scores of that system.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Champions, certainly.
The challenge of the superhero genre is that every character can play by his own rules. Magic for Zatana doesn't work like magic for Dr Strange. What Lex Luthor or Hank Pym do with advanced technology is nothing like what Tony Stark does with it. A new origin story can bring a whole alien planet (or galaxy-spanning empire) or alternate dimension into being.... it's nuts. :D No "traditional" RPG in the D&D mold could ever do that, mapping one superpower to one mechanical sub-system would be overwhelming, you could never present more than a minute sampling of what the comics have to offer without a rule set that'd fill an old-fashioned encyclopaedia.
The Champions solution was to model the effects of superpowers with mechanics, and let the players fill in the how & why with "special effects" (today, we'd say "re-skinning") and advantages/limitations that tweaked those mechanics. Downright revolutionary for 1981.
The unique initiative system using DEX/SPD and a bizarre little chart, and the first "off turn actions" I can remember seeing in an RPG, actually kinda evoked the feel of the action progressing in panels, like a comic.

Hero System, which grew out of Champions in less than a decade, is also my first choice for a universal system, too.
 
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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I've extensively played/GMed Champions, Villains and Vigilantes, and Mutants and Masterminds. I've played/run Masks as well, though far less.

We started with Champions but found it a bit grindy to make heroes and combat was kind of slow. But WOW does it have the ability to model some subtle variations of heroes.

Due to the complexity of Champions, we adopted the much faster Villains and Vigilantes as our favorite superhero game through high school. And I still love it though it has been eclipsed as my favorite.

Mutants and Masterminds has taken my top spot. When it debuted, it incorporated point-buy for stats and powers but each power had a broader applicability and description - which made it a good mid-point between Champions and V&V. It has since gotten more Champions-ish, but is much friendlier with alternate powers and extra effects. Plus, I really like the Toughness save combat mechanic and lack of hit point/stun/endurance/power point tracking.
 

Squared

Explorer
Mutants and Masterminds is my go to for this level of versatility in high powered settings.

Plus my wife has gone ham on the system, creating character sheets, being the groups power user, and reading everything about it online and then some. She loves its versatility. So I guess not much point in looking into other systems.

^2
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
What makes a good superhero RPG for you? Which ones have you read? Which have you played or run? What do you like about the games, the genre, and the stories? What's your favorite superhero RPG?

Let's see. There's classic TSR Marvel Super Heroes. Marvel SAGA. Marvel Universe. Marvel Heroic RPG. And now Marvel Multiverse RPG. There's DC Heroes. DC Universe. DC Adventures. HERO. Mutants & Masterminds. Capes, Cowls, and Villains Foul. Capes. Capers. Cartoon Action Hour. Champions. City of Mists. Claim the Sky. Brave New World. Above the Earth. BASH. Daring Comics. FIST. Galaxies in Peril. Worlds in Peril. Masks: A New Generation. Golden Heroes. Icons. Superworld. Stuper Powers. Prowlers & Paragons. Rotten Capes. Smallville. Supers. Supercrew. Tiny Supers. Truth & Justice. Underground. Valiant Universe. Venture City Stories. Villains & Vigilantes. Wild Talents. With Great Power.

Then there's all the generic systems that can handle superheroes.
I have played TSR Marvel, DC Heroes, and Mutants & Masterminds 3e. I have read Ascendant, Smallville, Villains & Vigilantes, Icons, HERO, Marvel SAGA, Marvel Universe, and Marvel Heroic. Of those I've read, Ascendant is my favorite, in large part because it subscribes to the simulationist worldview I favor. Of those I've played, it's definitely TSR Marvel.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
It's been a long time since I played V&V or OG Marvel. I'm not sure we ever did more than make up characters for Champions or the OG DC.

If I ever get to high levels in a game, I understand that's how some think of ...
 

I have played TSR Marvel, DC Heroes, and Mutants & Masterminds 3e. I have read Ascendant, Smallville, Villains & Vigilantes, Icons, HERO, Marvel SAGA, Marvel Universe, and Marvel Heroic. Of those I've read, Ascendant is my favorite, in large part because it subscribes to the simulationist worldview I favor. Of those I've played, it's definitely TSR Marvel.
Is Ascendant more simulationist than M&M?
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
DC Heroes 3rd Edition is my all-time favorite supers RPG, mostly because of the IP. I inherited all of my dad's and uncle's old DC comics when I was a kid and read the hell out of them. Mutants & Masterminds 1e is a close second (I like it specifically because it's complete in a single core book, which was not the case with subsequent editions). Finally, honorable mention goes to Supers Revised Edition.
 
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