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What's your favorite superhero TTRPG and why?


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I have a fondness for DC Heroes' exponential system, and an appreciation for M&M's sheer weight and support. What does it for you, and why?
I love the concept, but hated the game...

All the supers games I've run or played, favorite to least:
  1. Sentinel Comics - love the way it works, the presumptions of success, and the fail forward advice is worded particularly usefully.
  2. Marvel Heroic Roleplay (MHRP) Best Marvel Yet. Much the same reasons as Sentinels
  3. Advanced Marvel Super Heroes (AMSH) - About as narrativist as Trad Games from the 80's get. Lots of forward looking elements. The color table is brilliant. First game with a resources roll mechanic I liked. Note that "advanced" is a misnomer; it's really "2nd edition"
  4. (basic) Marvel Super Heroes - the resource point mechanic and fixed numbers per category are why this isn't above Advanced.
  5. Champions (but note: I've only used it in the fantasy hero mode as a GM, and only done supers mode as a player) The most flexible trad game ever.
  6. Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game - Fun for one-offs, easy to run, but lacks meat for campaigns.
  7. Spirit of the Century (the way we played, it turned into a pulps supers game, influenced by the Watchmen movie) Once was a hoot. We enjoyed it, but none of us wanted to run that setting again. All of us were willing to play it again.
  8. Car Wars (using Autoduel Champions section 3) - Car Wars in RPG mode is brilliant. Adding Supers (and the magic and dragons rules) is a lot of fun.
  9. Villains and Vigilantes - too much of the "incomplete due to early design standards" for me when I found it. Great adventures, mediocre system.
  10. TMNT (palladium) Not a good system, but a great adpatation of the setting to that mediocre system
  11. Heroes Unlimited (Palladium)
  12. The Fantasy Trip (original) with the supers article. unfun++
  13. GURPS Supers 1e Unfun and math-intensive
  14. Mayfair DC Super Heroes - unfun, unintuitive, math intensive, too abstract
  15. Mutazoids - My god, the formulae.
  16. Marvel Universe - I hate point pushers.
Superhero Adjacent games (where they'd fit if I considered them true supers):
  • (NR) John Carter of Mars (John is a super, as would be any other Earthperson present on Barsoom) (not run yet)
  • (3.5) GW Judge Dredd.
  • (4.2) Battle Born, G/Sol, and IoS&RG (Better Games - Everyone's in battlesuits.)
  • (4.5) Tails of Equestria (I've run multiple 1-shots. Everypony is a super to some degree. But it's not in the Supers Genre)
  • (5.5) Deathwatch (FFG 40K) (all the powered suits)
  • (5.6) other FFG 40K RPGs
  • (7.1) CP 2013 (many PC's are street level supers for power levels)
  • (7.2) CP 2020 (ibid)
  • (7.3) Shadowrun 1E (ibid) More supers than Cyberpunk, but not as good a game engine.
  • (7.4) Shadowrun 3E (ibid)
  • (10.5) Judge Dredd Traveller
  • (15.5) Judge Dredd D20
The ones I could be convinced to run again as multi-adventure or extended adventure campaigns:
  • Sentinel Comics (am about to restart my pre-Covid campaign)
  • MHRP
  • AMSH
  • Car Wars w/ADC
One Shots only down the road:
  • MSHAG
  • Original MSH
Undecided (games I have but haven't used for supers despite rules for supers, or supers games I've never tried but would someday like to):
  • CORPS (2e, generic engine, has a robust powers system I've used for fantasy.) Would be interesting to try as a "street level" game.
  • EABA 1e (I playtested it, and used the powers system for alien abilities, but it supports much higher levels of power than I used)
  • WEG Batman
  • D6 Supers
  • TORG (fan expansion for supers built upon the Nile Empire mechanics for pulp supers)
  • Genesys (if it gets a supers expansion, which I do expect)
To some extent, I consider D&D and Pathfunder to be "medieval super heroes", all the way back to AD&D 1 and BX. Especially before the idea of NPC Classes with levels. (Which goes back to the 1970's... in Dragon... it didn't hit core rules until D&D 3E, but it was present for late 0E and AD&D 1E in magazines, and in 2E in an expansion book.)

Edit note: I got distracted by nature, so saved, and came back to complete the answer.
 
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Masks: A New Generation does a really great job with abstracting and mechanizing character arcs through its playbooks, and I love the teenage super hero team genre, though I prefer a few years older (early 20s) as the classic New Teen Titans stuff.
 

Jay Murphy1

Meterion, Mastermind of Time !
Way dig DC Heroes system, I use the retro clone The Blood of Heroes 2nd Edition. Spent years banging my head against the wall with Champions. You spend more time discussing the rules then actually playing a roleplaying game. Actually I should say if you want to play a tactical game of superheroes of your own design bashing hell out of each other it is great, but it will be four hours of your game time.

MEGS gives a resolution system I find very much in tune with FASERIP. It has Hero Points, FASERIP has karma, both use charts to give you degrees of success or failure. The important thing, to me, both these games give you spectacular supers action but it doesn't gobble up the entire session so you may do all those other crazy roleplaying and subplot activities. In other words, the story moves along. Players get to do more in less time. And then have a good punch up with knockback and LAW rockets to the chest and magic portals and whatever :love:
 


Arilyn

Hero
Icons. Has a dose of Fate with a nice list of powers and a great random system

Sentinels. Haven't played it yet but I will be soon and I love the light narrative rules system with a dose of crunch. It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.

Marvel Heroic. (Cortex) This one has rules I love and the ability to mix up characters from street level to God like appeals to me. A super hero game should mimic comics or it cannot be a complete success.
 

I finished a Galaxies in Peril campaign not too long ago and that was a lot of fun. It’s a Forged in the Dark game.

Beside that, I still like Marvel Super Heroes by TSR abd DC Heroes by Mayfair. Both are solid games. Play Marvel occasionally, but not DC.
 


ss2art

Explorer
Anyone try Golden Heroes. You rolled up random powers, then had to design your origin to make sense of how they fit together. If you could not, you loss power. Your action in a round was what you could do in a comic panel. Never played, but rolled up a lot of characters.

I have read Savage World Supers, but not played. Any feedback?
 

ss2art

Explorer
Anyone try Golden Heroes. You rolled up random powers, then had to design your origin to make sense of how they fit together. If you could not, you loss power. Your action in a round was what you could do in a comic panel. Never played, but rolled up a lot of characters.

I have read Savage World Supers, but not played. Any feedback?
 

pming

Hero
Hiya!

Tie between MSHAS ( Classic Marvel Forever - MSH Classic RPG | Home Page ) and SUPERS! ( SUPERS! Revised Edition | hazardstudio )

Marvel Super Hero Advanced Set (re: the "FACERIP" version of 1986) is my go-to for anytime I want to run a Marvel game, obviously. Being able to run games down at the Punisher and Daredevil level, up to X-Men, and even beyond, like Silver Surfer level cosmic games can be done...and done well! Absolutely amazing RPG! Almost no complaints over the last 35 years of running it. :)

SUPERS! I only 'recently' (maybe 5 years ago? bought his as a PDF. Gave it a skin, then it sat there for a year. Found it when board one day, started digging into it more...and was blown away! WHY didn't I read it when I first bought the dang thing?!? (stupid brain doing stupid brain stuff! :mad: ). This system handles the low to upper-mid range of Super Hero'ing better than MSHAS (FASERIP), IMNSHO (take that, acronyms!). I ran my brother, his wife, and one of his friends through a quick game using Tabletop Simulator. He/they were, at first, only luke-warm with the system as they made characters and made simple checks. But once they got into combat against a group of about 30 'mooks' (just some fish-guy fin-soldiers), the magic happened! ;) My bro's "ninja-punisher dude" was attacked by six of them. With one single "action roll", he leveled ALL of them and still had an attack left! He though the might only be able to take out 2 of them (one for each attack), but that's not how it works in SUPERS! You have to read the rules to appreciate the genius of how the system works for this. Seriously. Go buy the PDF. Now!

Honorable Mentions:
DC Heroes (the Mayfair version, using the ... 'Action' system? The one where a score of 4 is twice as good as a 3, or half as good as a 5; the 'original' one?). We used this for, well, DC heroes games. We only played a handful of them...we were all more of Marvel fans...and the system was "odd feeling" when playing. I mean, "I can do it, I can lift 200 lb...well, more like 3200 lb if I REALLY try!" O_O But when you want the ridiculous power levels of DC heroes, it's a nice system. :)
Heroes & Heroines. Wow...this is a ...system. Uses dice as it's main thing...where you're rolling all manner and number of them. Might be 1d20 to hit, then 3d6 + 2d8 for damage...or 1d20 to hit, then 9d10 + 40 for damage, etc. One thing you will do a lot of...roll dice! It is 'world agnostic', but it DID put out two (?) supplements; one was for using "The Maxx" as a setting (brownie points for anyone who knows who The Maxx is/was), and one for...some other offshoot comic. Heroes & Heroines was going to, supposedly, get licenses for various Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, etc (all the "underground" or "non-main stream" comic book companies that were all the rage in the early/mid 90's)...but then, well, yeah. Crash! The system was nothing to write home about, but it did have a certain "charm" to it...it's own "feeling", which was nice.
^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Anyone try Golden Heroes. You rolled up random powers, then had to design your origin to make sense of how they fit together. If you could not, you loss power. Your action in a round was what you could do in a comic panel. Never played, but rolled up a lot of characters.
Golden Heroes was my first supers game! Haven't played that in a loooooooong time! I can barely remember it, but I do recall rolling randomly for powers.
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
Only played one. Villains & Vigilantes in the mid 90s. Quirky.

I've looked at Mutants & Masterminds but never pulled the trigger to buy it. Is it any good?
 

Jay Murphy1

Meterion, Mastermind of Time !
The Maxx was my favorite in my first year of college back in 92-93. Smoke a bunch of weed, listen to Bowie, read the latest Maxx, and tried to stay awake long enough for some of the cute girls to come crawling through my window. It paid to have your own pad as a freshman. Just bought the first issue again at the local comic store out of mad respect for the good old days.

It was the only comic which reminded me of all the Heavy Metal mags I read in the 80's.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
I guess the closest it'd come would be Marvel Superheroes (advanced) by TSR.
At least that's the one I've had the most fun with over the years.
But honestly I don't think I've found a favorite yet.
 


John Dallman

Adventurer
Anyone try Golden Heroes. You rolled up random powers, then had to design your origin to make sense of how they fit together. If you could not, you lost the power.
A friend showed me the system, and I got half-way through a character, but was not developing an interest. I have never been into superhero comics.

The only superhero campaign I played was Champions, starting as 3e and converting to 4e part-way through. The characters definitely weren't mutants with random-looking powers: we had super-advanced scientists, magicians, the current Lord Greystoke, a member of a Russian vampire family, a half-Frost Giant who'd got frozen in a glacier for thousands of years and children of various pantheons.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
My preference is for systems that are good at having the Hulk and Hawkeye play at the same table without much worry about power levels because it's generally more about narrative power. So generally systems like Fate (e.g., Venture City, Wearing the Cape, etc.), Cortex Plus/Prime (e.g., Marvel Heroic Roleplay, etc.), or even PbtA (e.g., Masks, etc.).
 

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