Favorite superhero RPGs?

Tony Vargas

Legend
This is more about the genre than game systems. I mean, sure, in Champions one can easily spend 500 points on both Thor and Hawkeye and have Hawkeye's arrows doing the same damage as Mjolnir. But it wouldn't be true to the source material.
You could easily spend 500 points on both, have Hawkeye's arrows being less powerful than Mjolnir, by the order(s?) of magnitude the fiction says (given that the fiction is hard to pin down, there's some latitude there), but still have both be participating in the same battle meaningfully.
It's a cute trick or dirty little secret, depending on how you look at it, fans call "Hero doubling" - while each "damage class" makes a power only a bit more effective at taking down an enemy, it represents a notional doubling in raw power (this is, again, however un-intuitive, weirdly realistic. which is ironic for a superhero game 🤷 )

But, yeah, if you're hard over on the fuzzy power of "unlimited strength" the MCU uses to dodge "whose stronger?" questions, nothing concreat can really model it.
(lest some other Hero fan say it, yes, you can go quite a ways with heavily limited extra strength and EGO-rolls to push and uncontrolled powers and whatnot... but, ultimately, points are quantitative and finite)
 

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DrunkonDuty

he/him
You could easily spend 500 points on both, have Hawkeye's arrows being less powerful than Mjolnir, by the order(s?) of magnitude the fiction says (given that the fiction is hard to pin down, there's some latitude there), but still have both be participating in the same battle meaningfully.
It's a cute trick or dirty little secret, depending on how you look at it, fans call "Hero doubling" - while each "damage class" makes a power only a bit more effective at taking down an enemy, it represents a notional doubling in raw power (this is, again, however un-intuitive, weirdly realistic. which is ironic for a superhero game 🤷 )

But, yeah, if you're hard over on the fuzzy power of "unlimited strength" the MCU uses to dodge "whose stronger?" questions, nothing concreat can really model it.
(lest some other Hero fan say it, yes, you can go quite a ways with heavily limited extra strength and EGO-rolls to push and uncontrolled powers and whatnot... but, ultimately, points are quantitative and finite)

Definitely. HERO is good at modelling a range of power levels. It's why it's my favourite system.

But, if we want to keep Hawkeye and Thor roughly on par with their comic book selves, putting them in the same situations (a battle, an espionage run, an archery contest) requires some rather specific scenario design in order to accommodate both power levels. For my money, this is something that starts to feel artificial if it happens regularly. YMMV.
 


GuardianLurker

Adventurer
Favorite Supers RPG? That's tricky.

The Wild Talents system (technically One Roll Engine, powering Godlike and Reign as well) has probably one of the most elegant resolution mechanics I've ever seen. And its Paragons setting does an incredible job of modelling a modern "indie" supers setting (ala Rising Stars, Wild Cards, Worm). BUT the power creation mechanics are WONKY, and it handles neither character progression nor high-powered characters well. So great for one shots, and I really wish it was better suited for longer campaigns.

Champions, especially in play, isn't actually all that bad. But you will be throwing ALL your d6's. With an experienced, genre-aware GM, it will be awesome. BUT do not let any minmax/optimizer near the character creation rules. Be very aware that when powers are specifically called out, there IS a reason and one generally learned the hard way. For sanity's sake, have your players submit narrative origins/descriptions and have the GM build the characters. It does handle both character progression and high-power characters well, so good for a long term campaign with experienced players/GMs.

Personally, my favorite all-round is DC Heroes (MEGS), though M&M3e/M&M(DC) is pretty good. For a beginner GM, I really can't think of a better system than the MEGS. It's the 2nd most elegant one I know. 1 roll, 2 chart look-ups that you quickly memorize, and great, easy-to-apply benchmarks. It also has some of the best GM advice I've ever seen - not around running the game, but how to build the stories. Do not bother with Blood of Heroes - both are out-of-print, and the original is so much better.

Those are the ones I have extensive play experience with (including a MEGS/Champions/Shadowrun hybrid that did NOT cure me of system tinkering). I've read some of the others (did you mention Wearing the Cape?) but haven't had a chance to play them seriously. GURPS Supers/Wild Cards isn't bad, but plays substantially similar to Champions. I've seen the FUDGE/FATE system adapted well, but given it's narrative gameplay focus, that's not surprising.

A lot of the others I've got to check out, so thanks VERY much for the listing.
 

pemerton

Legend
How does it do that?
The basic method is to use Scene Distinctions, which are free-form descriptors that the GM introduces and "manages".

Scene Distinctions can label scenery, geography, architecture, etc: eg Dr Doom's lair might include Weird Magitech Thrumming with Energy.

They can also label mood or significance: eg one of the scenes presented in the Civil War book takes place in Congress, and one Scene Distinction is Hallowed Halls.

They can also label abstracted participants or "extras" in a scene: eg Nosy Press, or Innocent Bystanders, or Crowd of Shoppers, etc.

And they can also label goals or threats: eg in one of the Civil War supplements, a scene is presented that includes the Scene Distinction Get Everyone Aboard the Plane; in a fantasy hack that I GMed, at one point a scene included the Scene Distinction Pursued by Giants.

If a villain is able to ablate the Innocent Bystanders Scene Distinction before the heroes stop them, that's bad for the innocent bystanders! If the heroes are able to ablate the Pursued by Giants Scene Distinction before the giants are able to catch them, they've escaped. Etc.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
The basic method is to use Scene Distinctions, which are free-form descriptors that the GM introduces and "manages".

Scene Distinctions can label scenery, geography, architecture, etc: eg Dr Doom's lair might include Weird Magitech Thrumming with Energy.

They can also label mood or significance: eg one of the scenes presented in the Civil War book takes place in Congress, and one Scene Distinction is Hallowed Halls.

They can also label abstracted participants or "extras" in a scene: eg Nosy Press, or Innocent Bystanders, or Crowd of Shoppers, etc.

And they can also label goals or threats: eg in one of the Civil War supplements, a scene is presented that includes the Scene Distinction Get Everyone Aboard the Plane; in a fantasy hack that I GMed, at one point a scene included the Scene Distinction Pursued by Giants.

If a villain is able to ablate the Innocent Bystanders Scene Distinction before the heroes stop them, that's bad for the innocent bystanders! If the heroes are able to ablate the Pursued by Giants Scene Distinction before the giants are able to catch them, they've escaped. Etc.
So, narratively.
 

pemerton

Legend
narratively: "in a way that relates to the act of telling a story or describing a series of events"


Player of Half-Elf Thief, c 1980 - "I try and pick the NPC's pocket.

GM - "Roll you pick pockets."

<Player rolls d%, gets a result more than 20 above the ability rating>

GM - "The NPC notices your attempt, and turns on you angrily. What do you do?"

Me: OMG, narrative resolution!
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Definitely. HERO is good at modelling a range of power levels. It's why it's my favourite system.

But, if we want to keep Hawkeye and Thor roughly on par with their comic book selves, putting them in the same situations (a battle, an espionage run, an archery contest) requires some rather specific scenario design in order to accommodate both power levels. For my money, this is something that starts to feel artificial if it happens regularly. YMMV.
To be fair, it feels pretty artificial in comics, too.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
narratively: "in a way that relates to the act of telling a story or describing a series of events"


Player of Half-Elf Thief, c 1980 - "I try and pick the NPC's pocket.

GM - "Roll you pick pockets."

<Player rolls d%, gets a result more than 20 above the ability rating>

GM - "The NPC notices your attempt, and turns on you angrily. What do you do?"

Me: OMG, narrative resolution!
I think some folks see a difference between narrative adjudication and narrative descriptions of outcomes following mechanical adjudication. That is, it is the rules' job to determine the probability of success or failure and the GM's job to determine what the fallout of that is. As opposed to the GM being equally involved in the former.
 

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