Questions about Sentinel Comics RPG actual play experiences

Mirroring this from the GTG forums in an attempt to reach more people. Trying to collect some data on people who've actually played (or run) the Sentinel Comics RPG. If you have and can spare the time, answers to the following would be helpful:

1. Are you primarily a player or a moderator? If you split your time between both roles, what percentage of time does each take up?
2. How long have you been playing or running the game in calendar terms?
3. How often do you play the game?
4. How long is your average session?
5. Do you play one-shot adventures?
6. Short story arcs lasting 2-4 sessions?
7. Longer campaigns, and if so, how long have they lasted?
8. If you can estimate it, how many hours have you dedicated to actual play? If you run the game, how much extra time have you spent on session prep?

EDIT: Ah, I forgot one I'm very curious about:

9. Do you use the Sentinel Comics setting when playing? If not, do you use another published comics setting, or a homebrew of your own creation?

Thanks for any input you can give. Feel free to add any other comments you feel are relevant.
 
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Guy Milner

Explorer
I've run it a couple of times, maybe 3? Twice online and once face to face at a convention. I'd run it again, very cool system and the way it hits the table is excellent. I put the one shot on my blog here - Day Of The Manta Ray

 

TheHand

Adventurer
I played this a few times, but only in very short games with irregular groups. I’d play it more but I always have a hard time gathering players who like my off brand style of super heroing.

1. I was the moderator, I would have preferred splitting the duty but no one was familiar enough with the system
2.-7. We only played 3 short sessions, each about 3 hours online. They were part of 2 story adventures
8. Prep time took me maybe 4-6 hours, including helping build the pcs and finding art assets. I run a lot of games, and it didn’t seem to take less or more time for this system than say a dnd game. Definitely less than something crunchy like Champions where I could spend hours just calculating villain sheets.

9. We used a home brew getting that delicately straddles the fence between serious and satire.
I’m familiar with the card game and did a lot of reskinning of the sample characters,

The players were all third-rate nobodies who live in a world where the world class heroes mainly coast on their laurels and take credit for the work of lesser heroes thanks to giant PR machines.
The first game centered around the heroes saving a holiday parade from villains themed like famous holiday characters (Santa, Frosty, and “Joe Pesci” as the frikkin Easter Bunny)
The second game involved tracking down a villain lair in an abandoned theme part with lots of environmental challenges - not really an original plot but it really showcased what the environment rules can do.

Good luck on your game! I really enjoyed the system and hope to try it again some day!
 

aramis erak

Legend
Mirroring this from the GTG forums in an attempt to reach more people. Trying to collect some data on people who've actually played (or run) the Sentinel Comics RPG. If you have and can spare the time, answers to the following would be helpful:

1. Are you primarily a player or a moderator? If you split your time between both roles, what percentage of time does each take up?
2. How long have you been playing or running the game in calendar terms?
3. How often do you play the game?
4. How long is your average session?
5. Do you play one-shot adventures?
6. Short story arcs lasting 2-4 sessions?
7. Longer campaigns, and if so, how long have they lasted?
8. If you can estimate it, how many hours have you dedicated to actual play? If you run the game, how much extra time have you spent on session prep?

EDIT: Ah, I forgot one I'm very curious about:

9. Do you use the Sentinel Comics setting when playing? If not, do you use another published comics setting, or a homebrew of your own creation?

Thanks for any input you can give. Feel free to add any other comments you feel are relevant.
I was the GM.
I ran the game 4 separate times...
time 1: starter kit, in store.
Time 2: starter, discord
Time 3: store game, full collection, all homebrewed.
Time 4: follow on to the store game, but at player's home. Got 3 issues in.
Most issues I wrote took 2 sessions, the ones in the starter kit took an average of 2.5 FTF, and 3 online.
My store sessions were 3-3.5 hours (7-10pm)
My online sessions were about 4-5 hours.
None of them were one-shots.
The main story arc for each was aimed at 6 issues. The short campaign ended due to health issues of the host.

Session prep was about 1 hour per issue.
We did use the setting, but only in limited ways for the homebrewed.

I've a couple players asking for it to cycle in, but it's not a good store game, as drop-ins take too long to generate, and the setting characters are pretty thin for people not already fans of the setting.
I did use both Hakas in my own games as NPCs.

Be liberal with minions. Remember most only have one or two action types allowed.
Be reasonable with lieutenants - they can try anything, but are good at one.
Be careful with major villains.

I found the balance rules to work reasonably well, but environments can be tricky to get feeling right. Steal liberally.
 

Thanks, helpful data.
Be liberal with minions. Remember most only have one or two action types allowed.
Be reasonable with lieutenants - they can try anything, but are good at one.
Be careful with major villains.

I found the balance rules to work reasonably well, but environments can be tricky to get feeling right. Steal liberally.
Not quite what I'm after here, but it is interesting to see what other people think works well.
 
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Hmmm. Little over a week and only three responses? I know GTG's support for the game has been pretty atrocious and some folks have moved on rather than wait for the rest of the KS promises, but are there really that few people who've played or are playing?

Any other input from anyone?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Hmmm. Little over a week and only three responses? I know GTG's support for the game has been pretty atrocious and some folks have moved on rather than wait for the rest of the KS promises, but are there really that few people who've played or are playing?

I don't think it has much to do with the support. The game's kickstarter only had about 3,000 backers. Not all that many people have the game, and only a small number of them will be on EN World. Of those who have the game, and are here, only a fraction will actually be playing this game regularly to have valid answers to your questions.

As a complete aside, I think the Guise book was an awful choice for their first supplement. Dark Watch or the Urban Settings book would have been better choices for establishing the game.
 

Whatever the cause, it's a not a great sign for how small the player base is for this game three years after it hit stress. There was quite a bit more online chatter when it hit backers and stores in 2021, but that's dropped to almost nothing despite getting generally positive reviews and the card game still being popular - much more popular, going by the KS counts. As a fan of the game I find it worrisome, especially since I've now seen several campaigns die off due to issues that don't really come into play until you've been using it for a while.

Also, I'm not looking for feedback just from people who've played (or are playing) regularly, even input from someone with just a session or two one either side of the screen is welcome.
As a complete aside, I think the Guise book was an awful choice for their first supplement. Dark Watch or the Urban Settings book would have been better choices for establishing the game.
Well, yes. It was late to start with, has a small page count and was largely unwanted by almost everyone I've seen express an opinion on the subject. And the faux-publisher-history book is next in queue for books and has no game crunch in it, just meta fluff. That release order priority more than anything else is why I mentioned lack of GTG support, because outside of a few adventures that's been it since launch. And adventures are always hit-or-miss sellers as they're pretty much GM-only product that most folks won't ever own. The Guise book is much the same, there's nothing in it for players unless they're enormous fans of the goofball comedy side of the setting, and even at that a lot of the wackier Disparation stuff from the podcast is absent.

The revised starter kit should be available in a few months and hopefully that will signal boost some but again, that's a GM product. If the community isn't growing or at least remaining stable how many GMs are there going to be to buy and run it?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Whatever the cause, it's a not a great sign for how small the player base is for this game three years after it hit stress.

Well, most games don't go very far. I'm happy the game got made, as it has some cool concepts in it, but I never expected it to be a big seller, despite the card game's popularity.

Supers play is kind of niche, overall. My group was up for playing through some of the starter stuff as an experiment, but overall supers play just isn't their bag.

Well, yes. It was late to start with, has a small page count and was largely unwanted by almost everyone I've seen express an opinion on the subject.

I can understand the choice, insofar as Deadpool (the closest mainstream comics analog) is popular, but I would have wanted to see more focus on bog-standard play o start with, rather than the goofy comedy. Goofy is fun every once in a while, but hard to sustain for any lengthy period.

The revised starter kit should be available in a few months and hopefully that will signal boost some but again, that's a GM product.

Oh, I don't really expect many player-side products, in general. It isn't the kind of game that sustains by putting out more and more player options.
 

TheHand

Adventurer
Yeah, I enjoyed the game, but I'm afraid it's a bit niche in the rpg world in a genre that's already niche (supers). I think a few other things that caused my group to falter on it (and we've played a variety of Supers rpgs, including HERO, Mutants & Masterminds, Savage Worlds Supers, FASERIP):
  • No one was a big fan of the character creation system. It seemed interesting as an option, but we all agreed it really needed a 'allocate 12 dice to powers, qualities... pick these GYRO powers" option that wasn't just the 'secret' 3rd option of "pick whatever you want."
  • For the GM, creating environments was a little difficult to grok, though they are a pretty central concept to the game.
  • As pointed out, support for the game really dried up after the initial release. I don't think the pandemic did it any favors, but the GTG devs really switched gears and went all in on their Definitive-Edition card game. I think if they had gone with the Urban book, adding in some more street-level options for characters, that would have really helped over the silly Guise book. It felt like the Devs themselves didn't care much about supporting the line any further, and given that they had a number of other games that came and went, it unfortunately felt a little par for the course. (As a little side rant, they really seem overly invested in building out their meta-comic universe storyline, but I don't find it very engaging).

All that being said, I still plan to give the game another go, and I've done a few homebrew hacks to the game to make it more palatable to my group for the next go around. I really like how it models playing "Comic Books" over "Super Power Simulations".

@Wofano Wotanto I've seen more discussions about this game off these forums on the 'purple' rpg site, so you might have some luck there getting feedback if you haven't already tried.

Cheers!

 

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