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What's your favorite superhero TTRPG and why?


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DrunkonDuty

Adventurer
It was Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8...the cover that showed Spider-Man in his black, symbiote suit for the first time.

And yeah, as a Cyclops fan, I grudgingly remember powerless Storm beating Cyclops. :(

As a Storm fan I really should track this down and enjoy the hell out of it. :D

Well, this can also get into another issue: one of the ways characters beat much more powerful opponents is massive authorial contrivance in some cases. That's also how characters who clearly would have addressed a problem all by their lonesome in their own books fail to do so in team books sometimes. I'm not sure that sort of thing is a virtue in a game.

Agreed, authorial fiat making character's do stuff they just shouldn't be able to do is not a virtue in a game. Or in the original comic. It just does no favours for anyone involved; not the reader, not the fictional characters. One of my most hated examples of this is Spiderman taking out Galactus's herald, Firelord. Now I love me some Spidey. He's my #1 fave spandex wearing fool. But there is no way in Mephisto's Realm that Spidey could take out Firelord. None. NONE!

<ahem> sorry, got carried away there. In my defence it's only been about 35 years or so since it happened.

I think one reason to have systems (like MHRP) that permit emotional stress and the like is to open up more space for interpersonal conflict.

Agreed. I think something like this is essential for any sort of super soap opera story - frinstance Claremont's X-Men; the best X-Men.

Now... how would I do this in Champions?????? I mean, I hate the idea of having another number to track...

How about - anytime a psychological complication is invoked in a negative fashion the character accrues some sort of "having a bad day" point. Oh! no. a "soap" point. Or just soap for short. "If you miss yet another date with MJ you're gonna accrue some serious soap, my friend."

For those still reading I should point out that "invoking" a complication is not a Champions concept.

Soap points could simply work like bennies, but given to the GM to use against that particular hero. Hero can buy them off with their own bennies. Hmm, starting to sound a lot like FATE here. Still, that's no bad thing. And it'd be super easy to tack on.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
As a Storm fan I really should track this down and enjoy the hell out of it. :D
Eh, it was actually kind of terrible. Two X-Men duking it out for leadership of the team? It wasn’t exactly the X-Men at their best as far as writing went. The issues of the later 1980s were a HUGE let down compared to how the X-Men entered the decade.
 

I think one reason to have systems (like MHRP) that permit emotional stress and the like is to open up more space for interpersonal conflict.

Which is an area I do acknowledge MHR is better in regards than most supers games. Even other games that make some gestures in that direction (Supers! for example) don't tend to have it as well implemented.
 

Agreed, authorial fiat making character's do stuff they just shouldn't be able to do is not a virtue in a game. Or in the original comic. It just does no favours for anyone involved; not the reader, not the fictional characters. One of my most hated examples of this is Spiderman taking out Galactus's herald, Firelord. Now I love me some Spidey. He's my #1 fave spandex wearing fool. But there is no way in Mephisto's Realm that Spidey could take out Firelord. None. NONE!

Yeah. As I said, I have no problems with physical powerhouses that are either mentally or socially weak.

But that's a lot different than suggesting there's always, or should be, a generic way for a weaker character to take on a stronger. Sometimes the stronger one is as strong or stronger in other areas too.

Now... how would I do this in Champions?????? I mean, I hate the idea of having another number to track...

You could treat it like a cumulative Transform against Ego as a basis.
 

DrunkonDuty

Adventurer
Eh, it was actually kind of terrible. Two X-Men duking it out for leadership of the team? It wasn’t exactly the X-Men at their best as far as writing went. The issues of the later 1980s were a HUGE let down compared to how the X-Men entered the decade.

Oh, look, no argument. Two people, supposedly friends, punching one another to see who's leader of the gang... says 8 year old kids to me; not functioning adults. But then there's a strong element of childishness in the superhero genre so I'm just gonna roll with it to the best of my ability. But I'll still get joy out of seeing Cyclops getting kicked square in the nuts. (I'm sure he isn't kicked in the nuts, rhetorical.)

I started reading X-Men in 88 (IIRC). Yes, I did read back issues to get a sense of the big plot moments that kept getting referenced. eg: Dark Phoenix and all that. But I much preferred the silly, dare I say soap operatic, qualities of the later stuff. 2 of my fave issues were... I believe they were called Women and Men. Back to back issues in which we see the team split up, along gender lines*, and get some R'n'R. Now something like this cold be terrible. But both were done with tongue firmly in cheek and gave a much needed breather after all that Death of the Mutants or whatever the hell the crossover event with Sinister, Goblyn Queen, Manhattan turning into a hellscape**, etc. was called.

But if we are going to turn this into a favourite eras in comics conversation we should probably start a new thread over in Geek Media.


*Again, 8 year olds.
** take your shots at NYC here.
 

Eh. I don't think I can really agree. The killing attack has been a problem from day one of the system, and the effect of Strength on distorting designs has been a thing for a long time. The EC was likely a mistake from the get-go (and I had a part in creating the damn thing).

I think 4e brought a lot of different Hero pieces together in a more coherent way, but the actual effect-in-play of changes from 3e to 4e was significantly less than from 4e to 6e.
those elements (KAs and ECs) are effectively unchanged through 5th.
The changes to disads, the unification of the mods from all the disparate games in the 1st-3rd ed lines (Danger International, Justice Inc, Star Hero 1e, Fantasy Hero 1e, Robot Warriors, Champions 1-3 eds) was huge. (pun intended)
Martial arts as collections of powerlike moves bought individually was also wonderful. The option for Normal Characteristic Maxima as a campaign setting switch was a huge benefit for those of us choosing to run non-supers...
My own Fantasy Hero world used Fantasy Hero 2e for HSR 4E, but I opted for the Mystic Masters magic rules instead of the stock FH ones.

And if you hadn't seen it, FH 1E wasn''t actually compatible with Champions - same rules but different valuation of points and magic. Star Hero 1E was essentially champions with only tech and aliens allowed powers...

5th was evolution - errata, a few powers' modifiers tweaked, errata and FAQ integrated... 4th was a revolution; it literally marked a change in the whole marketing approach and play of non-supers setting approach supported in the core... because prior, each genre was a separate rulebook, and powers varied in cost across them, mods were differently valued in them, and so on.
5REd was more of the same.

The only major revolutions in the Champions line are the 3-4 transition and the 5-6 transition. And Champions 4 brought all the others into being one unified game system.

Oh, and 5th made zero changes to playstyle in the groups I know. It made minor tweaks. I've not run 5REd, but I have it, and it's also not a significant set of changes.

If all you are considering is the champions side, you might not like the 4th ed changes, but for fans of multiversing and cross-borrowing, it made it finally a consistent experience, one basically unchanged by 5th.

6th doing away with figured was even more drastic.
 

DrunkonDuty

Adventurer
Yeah. As I said, I have no problems with physical powerhouses that are either mentally or socially weak.

But that's a lot different than suggesting there's always, or should be, a generic way for a weaker character to take on a stronger. Sometimes the stronger one is as strong or stronger in other areas too.

Now I wish I'd said this earlier. This is where I was coming from with my "controversial opinion" post way back up thread.

You could treat it like a cumulative Transform against Ego as a basis.

That did cross my mind. But it's a lot more to keep track of.
 

Now I wish I'd said this earlier. This is where I was coming from with my "controversial opinion" post way back up thread.

And to be fair, I think people claim this about MHR more than is really true. While I find the flatness of the profession in dice a little problematic (without getting into SFX, the most range you're going to have on an actual super power comparison is D8 to D12, and there's too much overlap there not to produce some things I find kind of counter-genre on occasion, though its usually flattened out by the other dice in the pool), its not actually generically true that a weaker character can defeat a stronger in the same type of conflict. They can shift the type of conflict and hope that helps, but it isn't a given except in the case of characters who have an unusually strong secondary approach (say, intimidation) against targets that are particularly weak in that area. But there's no assurance that'll match up that way, except for notorious standout cases (the Rhino is a physical powerhouse, but anybody halfway trying can get into his head).

That did cross my mind. But it's a lot more to keep track of.

If you're going to be forging into areas of conflict the system only minimally does, you're going to have to have some extra bookkeeping of some stripe.
 

those elements (KAs and ECs) are effectively unchanged through 5th.

Notice I was explicitly mentioning 5e and 6e as a set.

And if you hadn't seen it, FH 1E wasn''t actually compatible with Champions - same rules but different valuation of points and magic. Star Hero 1E was essentially champions with only tech and aliens allowed powers...

That was technically true of all the pre-4e "little games", though it stood out more with FH because powers were more of a factor than they were with Danger International or Justice, Inc. But in practice, there were only a couple powers that were that different once you got away from cost, so in play they weren't that different.

Oh, and 5th made zero changes to playstyle in the groups I know. It made minor tweaks. I've not run 5REd, but I have it, and it's also not a significant set of changes.

Well, honestly, other than making some design choices less degenerate, no Hero incarnation has made a huge change in playstyle. There'd be extra bobs and bibs, but someone who played Champions 2e would understand most of what was going on in a 6e game without a problem. It'd only be when getting into the guts of character (particularly power) creation that a lot of it would feel different--unless they went in with a lot of expectations about KA in the superhero end or happened to come up against some of the new options that they didn't recognize, and a lot of those are kind of special case.
 


ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
To be fair Cyclops (who I am another fan of) takes on his teammates single-handedly not once but TWICE.
The first time after the team is clearly rattled after thier first encounter with Proteus way back in X-men #127. He sees that they won't survive another encounter with Proteus if he doesnt snap them out of their state so he goads them into a "fight". He surrenders when he sees that they've regained thier focus and even Wolverine grudgingly understands what Cyke was doing.

The second time is in X-men #175 when the team, thanks to Masterminds shenanigans believes that Cyke is in fact Pheonix and comes after him. Scott lures them into the Danger Room and takes them on there using the environment and their weaknesses against them.

As a teen reading these? made me like Cyclops all the more because all he has are his eyebeams and his tactical acumen but clearly, it's enough.
 

Well, as noted, Cyclops is not a low powered character. His eyebeams may well be the most bang-for-your buck on the heroic side of Marvel until you hit the cosmics, he's got an extra side order of spatical relationship awareness, and he's been using them for years by that point. His big problem as referenced earlier is that he's a glass cannon; he's fairly good at avoiding being hit, but once he does he's usually down for the count.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
There are any number of systems that adequately handle low-level supers (Basically, 'Heroes' level people (with a possible exception for Peter)). Big splashy four-color supers, on the other hand....

M&M does it best, I think, but the system went from something simple and clean to almost Champions-level complexity and self-reference. I'd like something more like 1e (and let me tell you, a complete core rule book at under 200 pages is a huge plus for me) where they used the later idea of the Fighting stat to break apart Str/Dex from fighting ability. But I never could quite shake the idea that there was some undefined core concept I simply did not 'get'.

ICONS is great. I'd love to play it more, since I've only ever GM'ed. The most recent ed fixed all the problems I had with it, I think.

Marvel FASERIP holds a special place in my heart. Other than M&M, I don't think any other game system handles the 'Hulk and Hawkeye are on the same team' disparity quite as well (by not handling it, actually).
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
I have read Savage World Supers, but not played. Any feedback?
I don't think anyone answered your question, but I'm not 100% sure.
We tried both editions of the Supers rules.
We wanted to like it. We really, really did since SW was our group's big go-to system at the time.
I have never seen such a total and complete mess of a game in my life, and the second edition fixes some things but the end results are the same.
This is a system that does low-level supers very well. Once you get above the 'pulp' level of hero the wheels come off, catch on fire, and steer you into a ditch.
The main problem being that in SW, adding dice or even a '+1' mod is a big game-changer.
If you do not have 110% buy-in from everyone concerned that they simply will not push a thing above Power Level X, or never take something like enhanced speed, thing get out of hand very, very quickly.

You know how SW only lasts really until about the time you hit somewhere around the 20/25XP level or so, if I remember right?
That's your next session after the first XP spend with the Supers books.
 

Yeah, to be specific (and this is over and above the SW supers rules being really reluctant to let you have anything which could look like a plot breaker--something the system is generally really hesitant with--which makes it super conservative about some types of senses, mental powers, and even some movement powers) there's an ugly dynamic about how the damage-threshold system works with supers, which is made even worse by the fact the SPC has things that can cause damage dice to get up to as many as six (you only see this with heavy weapons in most of the other games, which is just as well because I think some artifacts start to sneak into the system with more about 3-4 because of the open-ended damage rolls). This means to be protected against the frequent gusting in damage, there's a tendency for characters to find some way to get pretty high Toughness (being harder to hit is a theoretical alternative, but its all-or-nothing nature means that when it fails its going to be pretty ugly). This means the routine attacks tend to bounce, even ones at a level that the same character puts out.

TLDR, it produces a system where the likely result is either one where characters get pasted good and thoroughly with some frequency, or one where its often hard to make them even notice you did anything. And non-damaging attacks aren't really a substitute for various reasons.
 

There are any number of systems that adequately handle low-level supers (Basically, 'Heroes' level people (with a possible exception for Peter)). Big splashy four-color supers, on the other hand....

M&M does it best, I think, but the system went from something simple and clean to almost Champions-level complexity and self-reference. I'd like something more like 1e (and let me tell you, a complete core rule book at under 200 pages is a huge plus for me) where they used the later idea of the Fighting stat to break apart Str/Dex from fighting ability. But I never could quite shake the idea that there was some undefined core concept I simply did not 'get'.

ICONS is great. I'd love to play it more, since I've only ever GM'ed. The most recent ed fixed all the problems I had with it, I think.

Marvel FASERIP holds a special place in my heart. Other than M&M, I don't think any other game system handles the 'Hulk and Hawkeye are on the same team' disparity quite as well (by not handling it, actually).

Given your apparent tastes, have you given Supers! RED a look, Wayne?
 

There are any number of systems that adequately handle low-level supers (Basically, 'Heroes' level people (with a possible exception for Peter)). Big splashy four-color supers, on the other hand....

M&M does it best, I think, but the system went from something simple and clean to almost Champions-level complexity and self-reference. I'd like something more like 1e (and let me tell you, a complete core rule book at under 200 pages is a huge plus for me) where they used the later idea of the Fighting stat to break apart Str/Dex from fighting ability. But I never could quite shake the idea that there was some undefined core concept I simply did not 'get'.
[snip]
Marvel FASERIP holds a special place in my heart. Other than M&M, I don't think any other game system handles the 'Hulk and Hawkeye are on the same team' disparity quite as well (by not handling it, actually).
M&M's fight stat is probably inspired by FASERIP and GW's RPGs (Judge Dredd, WFRP), where it's also a separate stat.

And, much as I love it, FASERIP leaves hawkeye unable to hurt a number of villains he's hurt in the comics, because armor is SO effective (100% of rating) and damage is 0/100%/200%/Special, with special being 200% and if any gets through massive side effect. Low end supers often do very little when someone else has a big attack, and the target is able to stand up to the brick.
 

M&M's fight stat is probably inspired by FASERIP and GW's RPGs (Judge Dredd, WFRP), where it's also a separate stat.

And, much as I love it, FASERIP leaves hawkeye unable to hurt a number of villains he's hurt in the comics, because armor is SO effective (100% of rating) and damage is 0/100%/200%/Special, with special being 200% and if any gets through massive side effect. Low end supers often do very little when someone else has a big attack, and the target is able to stand up to the brick.

Its an intrinsic problem with having fixed values at both the damage and protection end.
 

Eh, it was actually kind of terrible. Two X-Men duking it out for leadership of the team? It wasn’t exactly the X-Men at their best as far as writing went. The issues of the later 1980s were a HUGE let down compared to how the X-Men entered the decade.
As I remember it, it was pretty good. It's clear that this is not Cyclops at the top of his game. He is beset by doubts and by divided loyalties – one one hand he has his wife and child to think about, and on the other he feels that he should be the one who leads the team, particularly since Xavier is gone. But his heart isn't into it, and that (combined with a Danger Room scenario designed to play to Storm's strengths, as compensation for her lack of powers) is why Storm can defeat him. Also, said defeat doesn't really involve punching, but her using stealth to be able to put Cyclops in an unwinnable position at which point he surrenders.
 

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