"The Boys meets The Black Company" System Recommendations


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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
As I stated in my OP, it's definitely on the list. I just haven't ever run "low level" M&M so I am not 100% sure on how well it handles it.
Hah, sorry, I obviously didn't read the OP very well. :D When you say 'low level' do you mean like power level 5 or 6? I just joined a GI Joe campaign that's using M&M at PL 5 and it seems solid so far. It was the ease of scaling a given PC of NPC by power level that made me think it might work though.
 

innerdude

Legend
@Reynard -- The old Savage Worlds GM in me is trying to think of a way to balance what you want. Savage Worlds really does ground itself around "action hero++" style gaming, but I've never pushed it up a notch to superheroes. To make a SW game that allows "muggles" to go after the superheroes, it feels like you've got to create some built in backstory/narrative conceit that even gives the non-supes a chance at all.

If the supers are really that much better than the muggles, I don't know how you balance the numbers between damage + toughness across the spectrum of character effectiveness. Otherwise, the whole premise becomes "the PCs go find the MacGuffin that lets them actually hurt/wound/kill the supes."

Or you're doing what Savage RIFTS did where it uses a different damage scale entirely, and weapons have to work within the right damage scale to even have a chance to hurt the supers, etc.

For Savage Worlds, it just feels like a bunch of narrative conceits have to be baked into the premise to even make it work.

And if you're going to be throwing around a bunch of narrative conceits, might as well do it with a narrative-style system.

Like I could easily see hacking Starforged for this purpose, just by creating a few new player assets but otherwise running it as-is.

*Edit: Thinking about it, taking 2-3 hours to brainstorm assets, I could easily see a hack of Starforged being a really, really fun way to run that game. And I can easily see why others would recommend PbtA or FitD style games as well.
 

Reynard

Legend
@Reynard -- The old Savage Worlds GM in me is trying to think of a way to balance what you want. Savage Worlds really does ground itself around "action hero++" style gaming, but I've never pushed it up a notch to superheroes. To make a SW game that allows "muggles" to go after the superheroes, it feels like you've got to create some built in backstory/narrative conceit that even gives the non-supes a chance at all.

If the supers are really that much better than the muggles, I don't know how you balance the numbers between damage + toughness across the spectrum of character effectiveness. Otherwise, the whole premise becomes "the PCs go find the MacGuffin that lets them actually hurt/wound/kill the supes."

Or you're doing what Savage RIFTS did where it uses a different damage scale entirely, and weapons have to work within the right damage scale to even have a chance to hurt the supers, etc.

For Savage Worlds, it just feels like a bunch of narrative conceits have to be baked into the premise to even make it work.

And if you're going to be throwing around a bunch of narrative conceits, might as well do it with a narrative-style system.

Like I could easily see hacking Starforged for this purpose, just by creating a few new player assets but otherwise running it as-is.

*Edit: Thinking about it, taking 2-3 hours to brainstorm assets, I could easily see a hack of Starforged being a really, really fun way to run that game. And I can easily see why others would recommend PbtA or FitD style games as well.
Savage Worlds is my first choice -- but it's always my first choice.

The whole idea is that the PCs have to figure out a way to take out their Super targets -- with a dangerous weapon, by manipulating another super, by finding a weakness, etc... I don't know if those qualify as "narrative conceits" or not but they are intended parts of the play loop.

Mechanically, creating weapons that bypass "super toughness" is an easy mechanic to apply in SW.
 

Reynard

Legend
I am going to check out Wild Talents, since it comes up a lot in searching threads on other forums about modeling The Boys. Does anyone have any experience with it?
 

I am going to check out Wild Talents, since it comes up a lot in searching threads on other forums about modeling The Boys. Does anyone have any experience with it?

Wild Talents can be a lot of fun, if you're into the One Roll Engine thing (which not everyone is). But as with Godlike I think the system would definitely be less interesting as a player if the PCs don't have superpowers, just the enemies—means you're watching these extra mechanics happen that you don't have access to.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I am going to check out Wild Talents, since it comes up a lot in searching threads on other forums about modeling The Boys. Does anyone have any experience with it?

Not directly, but I’ve played Godlike, its predecessor that uses the same system, the One Roll Engine (ORE). It certainly may suit.

Godlike is specifically a World War II take on supers. You don’t play superheroes but rather soldiers who have super powers. The powers are potentially potent, but usually very focused, which means that the character is still very fragile.

I have Wild Talents and have read through it a bit, but not yet played it. I think it takes the system and moves it from soldiers to a more traditional take on supers.

I’ll say that I enjoyed Godlike to an extent, but the ORE system takes some effort to get used to. I don’t think we played long enough to really internalize the rules. Every time we rolled, we had to decipher the results. I expect for some groups this will be a quicker process.

The core mechanic is that you roll once for any action that requires a roll. It’s a pool of d10s. That one roll determines success/failure, degree of success/damage, hit location, and so on. One roll for everything. The Height of the roll is the number rolled, the Width is the number of dice that show that number. So you’re looking for matches.

It’s a pretty cool idea, but it takes some time to interpret the results of each roll. Often more time than systems that require more than one roll would need. As I said, more practice with this would likely improve the time, but across the three or so sessions we played, it was a factor for sure.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Not specifically, but I have some experience with the ORE engine. It's a really cool mechanic, but it's not for everyone.
 

Reynard

Legend
Wild Talents can be a lot of fun, if you're into the One Roll Engine thing (which not everyone is). But as with Godlike I think the system would definitely be less interesting as a player if the PCs don't have superpowers, just the enemies—means you're watching these extra mechanics happen that you don't have access to.

Not directly, but I’ve played Godlike, its predecessor that uses the same system, the One Roll Engine (ORE). It certainly may suit.

Godlike is specifically a World War II take on supers. You don’t play superheroes but rather soldiers who have super powers. The powers are potentially potent, but usually very focused, which means that the character is still very fragile.

I have Wild Talents and have read through it a bit, but not yet played it. I think it takes the system and moves it from soldiers to a more traditional take on supers.

I’ll say that I enjoyed Godlike to an extent, but the ORE system takes some effort to get used to. I don’t think we played long enough to really internalize the rules. Every time we rolled, we had to decipher the results. I expect for some groups this will be a quicker process.

The core mechanic is that you roll once for any action that requires a roll. It’s a pool of d10s. That one roll determines success/failure, degree of success/damage, hit location, and so on. One roll for everything. The Height of the roll is the number rolled, the Width is the number of dice that show that number. So you’re looking for matches.

It’s a pretty cool idea, but it takes some time to interpret the results of each roll. Often more time than systems that require more than one roll would need. As I said, more practice with this would likely improve the time, but across the three or so sessions we played, it was a factor for sure.

Not specifically, but I have some experience with the ORE engine. It's a really cool mechanic, but it's not for everyone.
The "essentials" version of the rules was only $5 so I picked it up from DTRPG. I will give it a read later and see if I feel like I can grok it.

Otherwise, I am leaning back toward my comfort zone and picking either M&M or SWADE. It will really depend on which one models bypassing the Champions' super-toughness better (either through special weapons or a trick or whatever) since that will kind of be the "win condition" for the adventures. Supers pulping PCs in one or two hits is easy in either system, and both have fail safe mechanics that PCs can use once or twice to not make it instant death (just inevitable...).
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I don't know if you have read The Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson. Similarish-enough concept (normals that through prep and tech were able to take on evil supers) that I just went searching for an RPG for ti. But unfortunately all of the recommendations were ones already listed here.

If whatever system you pick has too large of a gap between normal and supers, you could steal an idea from that series - each super has a weakness, and finding that out could be leveraged for a chance for victory.
 

If whatever system you pick has too large of a gap between normal and supers, you could steal an idea from that series - each super has a weakness, and finding that out could be leveraged for a chance for victory.

@Reynard isn't into PbtA (not a swipe, honestly, just mentioning for context) but this makes me think Monster of the Week could be a fun way to do supes-hunting, especially with its focus on weaknesses.

I know I'm a broken record with this point, but I don't really like how almost any game does superpowers, especially with mixed power levels...except for more narrative systems. If you're a non-supe, we don't need to know how may hexes Homelander can throw a car at you (all the hexes), and how many handfuls of dice to roll for damage. We just need to know if you got out of the way, or hit him first, or someone else intervened. Otherwise, roll all the dice you want, you're still just a dead person under a car.
 

Reynard

Legend
@Reynard isn't into PbtA (not a swipe, honestly, just mentioning for context) but this makes me think Monster of the Week could be a fun way to do supes-hunting, especially with its focus on weaknesses.

I know I'm a broken record with this point, but I don't really like how almost any game does superpowers, especially with mixed power levels...except for more narrative systems. If you're a non-supe, we don't need to know how may hexes Homelander can throw a car at you (all the hexes), and how many handfuls of dice to roll for damage. We just need to know if you got out of the way, or hit him first, or someone else intervened. Otherwise, roll all the dice you want, you're still just a dead person under a car.
That's all true, which is why Fate is still on the table except -- as I think I stated -- I have had terrible luck with making a successful con game of it.
 

That's all true, which is why Fate is still on the table except -- as I think I stated -- I have had terrible luck with making a successful con game of it.

That's right, you mentioned Fate a bunch, which seems like a good fit. I don't know why that system is such a blind spot for me. I should give it try.
 

Reynard

Legend
I don't know if you have read The Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson. Similarish-enough concept (normals that through prep and tech were able to take on evil supers) that I just went searching for an RPG for ti. But unfortunately all of the recommendations were ones already listed here.

If whatever system you pick has too large of a gap between normal and supers, you could steal an idea from that series - each super has a weakness, and finding that out could be leveraged for a chance for victory.
Side note: is that story any good for an adult audience? I am not usually a YA fan, but I do like Sanderson in "small" doses (I got through about 2500 pages of Stormlight archives before I couldn't take Shalan any more).
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
The mention of specific weaknesses makes me think of Vaesen from Free League. That’s a monster hunting game whwre the creatures all have some kind of weakness or vulnerability that must be exploited to win.

With a little reskinning, maybe that could work?
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Side note: is that story any good for an adult audience? I am not usually a YA fan, but I do like Sanderson in "small" doses (I got through about 2500 pages of Stormlight archives before I couldn't take Shalan any more).
I know some huge Sanderson fans, but I wouldn't use that to describe me. I first read him to finish off The Wheel of Time, which I started in the 90s and just needed to finish to justify the amount of time I'd put into it. Other than Reckoners the only other thing I read by him was Mistborn trilogy which I liked a good deal, especially how what could have been loose threads were instead Chekov's guns.

Young supers finding themselves and SF navel battles are two of my reading guilty pleasures, which is sort of why I picked up the first Reckoners book. (Not the SF naval battles part ;) ) I found them quite enjoyable, call it 3.5 stars. (I'm picky, that's a good rating from me.)

Premise is that super powers started 15-20 years ago, but every single super is evil. The most powerful have ended up breaking governments and carving up nations into their own little feudal lands.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
The "essentials" version of the rules was only $5 so I picked it up from DTRPG. I will give it a read later and see if I feel like I can grok it.

Otherwise, I am leaning back toward my comfort zone and picking either M&M or SWADE. It will really depend on which one models bypassing the Champions' super-toughness better (either through special weapons or a trick or whatever) since that will kind of be the "win condition" for the adventures. Supers pulping PCs in one or two hits is easy in either system, and both have fail safe mechanics that PCs can use once or twice to not make it instant death (just inevitable...).
I think M&M would be really solid for what you want and would be my pick out of those two. The power builds seems to easily accommodate the weaknesses you're looking for, as well as really powerful powers, and there's also a metric ton of ways to make magic work in cool ways. SWADE would be cool, but I think M&M would be a little more nuanced and useful on the character build side.

Your whole project sounds really cool, I'd love the occasional update.
 

innerdude

Legend
To chime in on the Reckoners (which I have read all 3 in the series and enjoyed), in the story the effectiveness of the non-supers still largely hinges on the narrative conceit that every superhero has a hidden weakness that can potentially be activated and exploited. In my mind that general hingepoint applies regardless of system, or as @Grendel_Khan mentioned above, it doesn't matter what dice you roll, the non-supers are still just dead folks under a smashed car when Homelander arrives.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I wish it wasn't ridiculously expensive now, but the Green Ronin "Black Company" for d20 had everything from the company to the taken to Lady.

Haven't seen it anywhere but it's forum here, but does Eternity Press's 3.5 Epic and Immortal level offer anything?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I wish it wasn't ridiculously expensive now, but the Green Ronin "Black Company" for d20 had everything from the company to the taken to Lady.

Haven't seen it anywhere but it's forum here, but does Eternity Press's 3.5 Epic and Immortal level offer anything?
Importantly, the Black Company D20 product is By Rob Schwalb, of Shadow of the Demon Lord fame. He's great. (y)
 

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