Favorite superhero RPGs?

pemerton

Legend
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.
The bolded bit describes Apocalypse World, Burning Wheel, Torchbearer and Prince Valiant (unless you count setting the difficulty as a "narrative" RPG - in which case 5e D&D is "narrative).
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
The bolded bit describes Apocalypse World, Burning Wheel, Torchbearer and Prince Valiant (unless you count setting the difficulty as a "narrative" RPG - in which case 5e D&D is "narrative).
I think it describes all rpgs with a GM. That's the GMs job.
 

aramis erak

Legend
How does it do that?
Many ways, but the easiest is that one can use a roll to create a die-rated character, scene, or object condition, which then can be tagged in later rolls.
Keep in mind, it's always roll many, keep 2, and the biggest unkept is the effect level. Effect level
You get 1 power per power set with that power's die (Most have 1 set, some have 2, a few have 3)
1 die for affiliation conditions
1 Distinction - d4 as hindrance, d8 as boon.
1 die for a suitable specialty
1 d6 for a relevant tool
1 condition - from opponent injury or other condition
1 scene trait.

To create a scene trait, either you drop a plot point and take it as a d6, or you make a roll, using relevant powers, and have to beat the doom pool, which is also keep 2, or you buy an opponent's 1's as complications.
If you do, the largest die (most sides) that wasn't one of the two counted is used as the condition's strength. (Injuries are a subtype of conditions, and conditions of traits - traits are anything with a die code...)

Situation from a game I ran back in 2017.
So, Spidey is scouting ahead in a building, he hears guards. He is willing to risk a turn to make a hidey hole on the shaded part of the ceiling, so his red and blue isn't a giveaway...
Affilitation: Others are in a different scene but the same action sequence, but I let him have the solo d8
Distinction: Wisecracker - as a d4 - and a plot point.
Spider Powers set: Enhanced Senses to know he's got to get in there: d8
Web Slinging set: Enhanced durability seems closest... d8
Covert Expert d8
So, 4d8 and 1d4 total. He drops a plot point for d6 shadow as a scene trait
I don't remember the exact rolls, but that he got a complication was relevant so, we'll fake it.
D8's 8, 7, 2, 1; d6 3; d4 2
Doom pool was 6d6 at that point. I rolled a pair of 6's, no 1's, and don't recall the rest.
the d8 on a 1 is discarded, and the player is offered a condition - d4 "Gotta Pee". He takes it and the plot point.
So, to pass, he has to keep the 8 and 7 on d8's. that leaves a d8 on 2... it has more sides than the remaining d6 and d4.
So his nest is d8.

When he hides in it next round, he gets
Solo D8
Wisecracker d4 and Plot Point.
Spider Set: Wall Crawler d6
Web Set: enhanced durability d8
Covert Expert d8
Webbed Nest d8 - he is skipping the d6 scene condition shadows, as it's only a d6, and you can't tag two scene conditions at once without spending a Plot Point for the second.

The guards, being basic grunts, barely get three dice to spot him, and all at d6's. They also get a free tag of one of spidey's conditions... since he's uninjured and carrying none but the Gotta Pee... that's the one they tag - at a d4. So I'm rolling 6d6 & 1d4. I need the doom pool gains...
but i didn't need 4 1's... they opt for a big one: Power Out d10... That's turning the doom pool into 3d8+1d10... but the guards are now fairly worthless...

Next round, spidey will wall crawl back to the group, with a swingline safety, covert expert, solo, and the new d10 power out and its implied darkness... the round after that, he aimed for a shrubbery.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I think it describes all rpgs with a GM. That's the GMs job.
not always. A few make it clear there is no difficulty other than "needs a roll" or "doesn't need a roll."

Mouse guard has a very interesting rigid difficulty system, not presented as optional (but usually treated as such by those from more story-first game experience)... if it weren't for the scripting, it could be played solo thanks to that difficulty system.
 

Nutation

Explorer
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.
Champions is my first love. But,DC Heroes does simplicity and elegance best without sacrificing crunch. The logarithmic scale for everything means it can handle a huge range of power levels. A powerful-enough character can search the entire planet for a hidden opponent in one action and one opposed roll.
 

DrunkonDuty

he/him
Many ways, but the easiest is that one can use a roll to create a die-rated character, scene, or object condition, which then can be tagged in later rolls.
Keep in mind, it's always roll many, keep 2, and the biggest unkept is the effect level. Effect level
You get 1 power per power set with that power's die (Most have 1 set, some have 2, a few have 3)
1 die for affiliation conditions
1 Distinction - d4 as hindrance, d8 as boon.
1 die for a suitable specialty
1 d6 for a relevant tool
1 condition - from opponent injury or other condition
1 scene trait.

To create a scene trait, either you drop a plot point and take it as a d6, or you make a roll, using relevant powers, and have to beat the doom pool, which is also keep 2, or you buy an opponent's 1's as complications.
If you do, the largest die (most sides) that wasn't one of the two counted is used as the condition's strength. (Injuries are a subtype of conditions, and conditions of traits - traits are anything with a die code...)

Situation from a game I ran back in 2017.
So, Spidey is scouting ahead in a building, he hears guards. He is willing to risk a turn to make a hidey hole on the shaded part of the ceiling, so his red and blue isn't a giveaway...
Affilitation: Others are in a different scene but the same action sequence, but I let him have the solo d8
Distinction: Wisecracker - as a d4 - and a plot point.
Spider Powers set: Enhanced Senses to know he's got to get in there: d8
Web Slinging set: Enhanced durability seems closest... d8
Covert Expert d8
So, 4d8 and 1d4 total. He drops a plot point for d6 shadow as a scene trait
I don't remember the exact rolls, but that he got a complication was relevant so, we'll fake it.
D8's 8, 7, 2, 1; d6 3; d4 2
Doom pool was 6d6 at that point. I rolled a pair of 6's, no 1's, and don't recall the rest.
the d8 on a 1 is discarded, and the player is offered a condition - d4 "Gotta Pee". He takes it and the plot point.
So, to pass, he has to keep the 8 and 7 on d8's. that leaves a d8 on 2... it has more sides than the remaining d6 and d4.
So his nest is d8.

When he hides in it next round, he gets
Solo D8
Wisecracker d4 and Plot Point.
Spider Set: Wall Crawler d6
Web Set: enhanced durability d8
Covert Expert d8
Webbed Nest d8 - he is skipping the d6 scene condition shadows, as it's only a d6, and you can't tag two scene conditions at once without spending a Plot Point for the second.

The guards, being basic grunts, barely get three dice to spot him, and all at d6's. They also get a free tag of one of spidey's conditions... since he's uninjured and carrying none but the Gotta Pee... that's the one they tag - at a d4. So I'm rolling 6d6 & 1d4. I need the doom pool gains...
but i didn't need 4 1's... they opt for a big one: Power Out d10... That's turning the doom pool into 3d8+1d10... but the guards are now fairly worthless...

Next round, spidey will wall crawl back to the group, with a swingline safety, covert expert, solo, and the new d10 power out and its implied darkness... the round after that, he aimed for a shrubbery.

Wow. And people say Champions is complicated.

I do like the scene tagging concept. It's always better to have these things explicit in one's mind, or even written out for all players to see. I can see it really helping set the scene for the group.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Wow. And people say Champions is complicated.

I do like the scene tagging concept. It's always better to have these things explicit in one's mind, or even written out for all players to see. I can see it really helping set the scene for the group.
Nobody ever said that narrative mechanics equals rules-light.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Nobody ever said that narrative mechanics equals rules-light.
I'm sure lots of people have. Looks like they may have been mistaken.

But, usually "rules lite" means "I've been playing this game since I was 8, and it's totally easy and intuitive, the perfect game for new players.... " in a sort of I've-long-since-forgotten-how-much-I-know-on-this-subject kinda way.

...there's some fancy p-sychology term for that, but I forget it...
 

Lord Shark

Adventurer
Wow. And people say Champions is complicated.

I do like the scene tagging concept. It's always better to have these things explicit in one's mind, or even written out for all players to see. I can see it really helping set the scene for the group.

It's not particularly difficult once you wrap your head around it, but then you can say the same thing about building a character in Champions, which to me has always felt like way too much work. I liked DC Heroes back in the 90s, but again, I don't think it holds up particularly well today.

While it has issues, MHR is still my favorite supers game, and with the addition of Cortex Prime it's easy to tinker with the rules to get them closer to what I want.
 


Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top