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Legends of the MetaVerse: An Interview with Bill Lee (Good Brother Studios)

Are you looking for 5e superheroes with artwork by comic book greats? If so, check out the Kickstarter for Legends of the MetaVerse to see art from Jae Lee and June Chung, Mike and Laura Allred, Andrea Di Vito of Marvel fame as well as IDW’s Dungeons and Dragons comics, and many more. Edited by a former Marvel staff editor, this project feels like an amazing combination of superheroes and tabletop. Bill Lee of Good Brother Studios was kind enough to answer my questions about his project including how their version of 5e works, who is involved, and what you can expect from the villains.

Jae Lee and June Chung - Legends of the MetaVerse.jpeg

EGG EMBRY (EGG): Bill, thanks for reaching out about this project. What is Legends of the MetaVerse?
BILL LEE (BILL)
: Thanks so much for chit chatting with me, Egg! Legends of the MetaVerse (LotMV) is a superhero tabletop RPG based on the 5th edition of the world’s most popular role-playing game. It’s a game that brings the explosive action and excitement of superhero fiction to your gaming table, letting you play as your favorite heroes or make up your own.

EGG: Superheroes for 5th Edition. What mechanical differences from standard 5e can players expect?
BILL
: We’ve tried to keep the basic mechanics pretty close to 5e. One of our design goals was making sure that if you brought this book to your 5e gaming group, they could roll up characters and start playing in no time. While if you’ve never played 5e before, it wouldn’t take you any longer to grasp the basics of LotMV than it would to learn 5e. But within that 5e mechanical framework, there is so much space to explore in terms of superheroic thematics. Making each class and subclass feel like you’re playing your favorite superhero was not only important but necessary. So our base classes are built on the framework of the 5e base classes, tweaked slightly (or not so slightly in the case of the Ranger) but then subclasses and character options are really expansive and ground this game firmly in the world of superheroes.

EGG: You have 10 base classes. That’s too much to cover here, but what are a few of your favorites? What makes them stand out?
BILL
: My absolute favorite is the Champion subclass called Path of the Powerhouse. Champions are heroes defined by their commitment to an ideal. And the Path of the Powerhouse is committed to raw power. With the ability to grow large, deal tremendous damage to the environment, hurl their teammates around the battlefield and cause general mayhem, it’s always fun when a Powerhouse shows up.

EGG: There are “13 secret identities, 4 birthrights, 12 origins” to choose from. What’s the difference between a birthright, origin, and a secret identity in Legends of the MetaVerse?
BILL
: Fantasy races don’t translate to the world of superheroes. So we had to start from scratch. We conceived of birthrights as comprising your unique makeup, either something you inherited at birth or something you manifested during an explosive rebirth. There are four broad categories of birthrights Human, Metahuman, Posthuman and Unhuman. Each birthright then offers several origin options. These options are true to superhero origin stories, so maybe you’re an Alien who landed on Earth and found yourself gifted with strange powers. Maybe you’re a mutant who was born with a variant chromosome that brings with it unique gifts and curses. Maybe you’re a Chosen One, at the mercy of fate, or a well-disciplined person who uses Peak Conditioning to get on edge on others. Once you have your birthright and origin nailed down, we offer a variety of secret identities to choose from. This represent who you are when you take your mask off. This is the human part of superhuman. So maybe you’re a Student juggling crimefighting and homework, or a Circus Performer who uses your unique skills and flair for the dramatic to save the day, or possibly a Hero Out of Time, someone who hails from a place and time that has already passed or may never come to be.

Legends of the MetaVerse by Andrea Di Vito and Bryan Valenza.jpg

EGG: That makes perfect sense, thank you. Let’s look at the powers. You have 29 powersets and 300 powers. What’s the difference between a powerset, a power, and a feat in this project?
BILL
: Powersets are granted to you by your origin. They offer a feature at 1st level, 5th level and 10th level. These are features innate to you. In 5e terms, think of these as subrace features, although greatly expanded. Powers are just that, all the unique and wonderful things you can do. Powers are granted to you by your class, with each class having a unique powers list. Sometimes powers represent innate abilities, but sometimes they can also represent things like gadgetry or a unique maneuver on the battlefield. In 5e terms, think of powers as spells.

EGG: You have 80 villains. Is there a breakdown of type like thugs, aliens, or demigods or whatever category you’ll offer?
BILL
: We don’t have creature types per se, but we wanted to give a broad cross section of the various kinds of villains you’ll find in superhero stories. So things like ninjas, mutant hunting robots, alien warlords from the beyond the stars, trickster gods, subterranean monsters, colorful and thematic supervillains, assassin droids. Superhero stories mean different things to different people and we wanted to have villains that met all those disparate needs.

EGG: You’re offering a text-only PDF copy of the game on launch day, correct? What can fans expect with that?
BILL
: It’s the complete character creations rules, as well as the 80 villains of the Rogue’s Gallery. Everything you need to have a LotMV game up and running. Including a character sheet! The only thing missing (aside form the art and design) is the Game Master’s guide. This we’re saving for the printed Core Rulebook. It’ll include legendary items, a map of the MetaVerse itself and a guide to Neo Amsterdam, which we’ve designed to be the perfect playground for all your costumed hijinks.

Legends of the MetaVerse by Jacob Edgar and Kike Diaz.jpg

EGG: You’re working with some of the great artists of comics. How did you connect with Jae Lee?
BILL
: When we started this project we knew we needed a striking cover. All books need good covers, but particularly when your game is comic book adjacent, covers are just so important. We made a short list of our dream artists. Jae Lee was literally the first name on that list. And we were so excited when he got back to us and agreed to do the honors.

EGG: In an homage to comics, there will be an alternate cover to this book. Who is it by?
BILL
: The alternate cover is by comic book legends Mike and Laura Allred, winners of this year’s Eisner Awards for Best Penciller/Inker and Best Colorist.

EGG: Those are the names of comic royalty and that really adds to this project. Who else are you working with?
BILL
: We’ve got art from comic book pros Andrea Divito, Jacob Edgar, Kike Diaz and Bryan Valenza. And a large part of our budget, should we fund, will be dedicated to procuring more art from the top talent in the industry.

Mike and Laura Allred - Legends of the MetaVerse.jpg

EGG: Good Brother Studios feature creators with important day jobs. For those that don’t know, what do you do when you’re not fighting [tabletop] crime at night?
BILL
: We’re a three person team and two of us, myself and Lindsey, are health care workers. We both work as Physician Assistants and LotMV started as a small homebrew we tinkered with to help get us through the worst of COVID. Two years later, we decided this small thing had brought us so much joy in such a rough time that we wanted to share it with everyone we could.

EGG: Thank you for working to save lives! Beyond Legends of the MetaVerse, what else are you working on?
BILL
: We’re knee deep in LotMV and running our first Kickstarter. But we always have our eyes on the horizon. Our next project is a huge adventure for LotMV. I can’t give away too much, but let’s just say it involves the coming of a stranger from the stars, the herald of a star-devouring space monster who has set its sights on our sun!

EGG: Thanks for reaching out. Where can fans learn more about this project?
BILL
: Our Kickstarter is live now. Check it out and download a free copy of the text-only rules (including a character sheet) and start playing today!

Legends of the MetaVerse from Good Brother Studios
  • End Date: Thu, October 14 2021 10:31 AM EDT.
  • “A superhero tabletop RPG based on the 5th edition of the world's most popular role-playing game.”
 

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

My opinion is there is a potential market in the subgenre of the superheroes, because lots of powers are too much storytelling elements that can't be adapted easily into videogames, and the characters of the TTRPG are designed for a right balance between power and weakeness/vulnerability, success and failure, trying to avoid the too perfect and boring "Mary Sue/Gary Stu".

The famous superheroe universe franchises have got future with the TTRPG, but maybe lots of characters will have to be "nerfed" in the name of the gameplay.
 


dave2008

Legend
I think this is a very interesting project and I hope it succeeds. I think there is a lot of room to bring super hero elements to 5e and I am interested to see how they pull it off. I backed this a while ago and I am glad your are giving it some press @Egg Embry. Hopefully it helps them reach their goal!
 


Dungeonosophy

Adventurer
I would imagine the same as every other OGL product (which this is)?
Well, I mean in regard to how open LotMV will be with its own new content. (Not in regard to whether it uses 5E Open Game Content)

There are very different approaches: Dungeon Crawl Classics and Castles & Crusades are OGL but they purposely don't offer SRDs. Other OGL games, such as Pathfinder, publish their own SRD.

So I'm wonder whether LotMV has plans to produce an SRD, or a Fan Content platform (like DMs Guild).
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
Well, I mean in regard to how open LotMV will be with its own new content. (Not in regard to whether it uses 5E OGL content.)

There are very different approaches: Dungeon Crawl Classics and Castles & Crusades are OGL but they purposely don't offer SRDs. Other OGL games, such as Pathfinder, publish their own SRD.

So I'm wonder whether LotMV has plans to produce an SRD, or a Fan Content platform (like DMs Guild).
OK, just to be clear there is no "5e OGL." It is just the same old OGL. IIRC, everything someone publishes under the OGL becomes part of the OGL, unless it is specifically exclude as product identity. So you don't need an SRD to use things under the OGL, unless those things are also "product identity." Now whether there is a Fan Content platform plan I have no idea.
 

Toriel

Explorer
My only issue with this project is that it only goes up to level 10. Because of that, I decided to back another project that does superheroes with the 5th edition.
 

Dungeonosophy

Adventurer
OK, just to be clear there is no "5e OGL." It is just the same old OGL.

Ah right. I ought to have typed "5e OGC" instead of "5E OGL content." :) I'll change it in the post.

So you don't need an SRD to use things under the OGL, unless those things are also "product identity." Now whether there is a Fan Content platform plan I have no idea.

Well, right. But often it's not easy to extract the OGC. Many people have asked for DCC and C&C SRDs. And PF and MnM would've had quite a different community spirit if someone hadn't put together an SRD.

Anyway, LotMV is in the midst of a Kickstarter - so those folks have enough to focus on. Still, some people would be interested to hear any plans for an SRD and Community Content.

In any case, best wishes to the Good Brother Studios crew - this looks like a great game!
 


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