One of the major genres of gaming, and to be honest storytelling in general, is the super hero story! This modern mythology of morality tales and sensationalist action has taken on a new life and just in time for the TTRPG revival too. In the last decade, geek culture and superheros have become mainstream on the backs of Marvel Comics movies and the DC Comic TV Shows. Today we talk about the unique aspects of running a superhero game and what you should take into account when you have supers as your characters. As always, this is just the first of what could be many shows about this topic and for now, start here!
- Power Level dictates your defaults even more than other gaming. Usually in modern, or modern adjacent settings, Power Levels of the super heros makes a difference in what sort of activities they undertake. If you want earth shattering, or reality bending adventures to run, don’t limit your setting to street level powers; conversely massively powerful supers won’t bat an eye at a bank robbery without major work from the GM.
- Comic Books are as much about relationships as superheroing; think soap opera and look for ways to generate internal conflict and impetus in your team. Cyclops & Jean Grey; Raven & Kid Flash; Sue & Ralph Dibney; Iron Man’s Demon in a Bottle.
- Compelling Villains are twice as important for Superhero Games. Having a villainous nemesis or archvillain is a cornerstone of most superhero stories and you should think through how you want to handle that. Check out Episode 82 for more.
- Scale your Realism to your Power Level – Realism means more than just the physics of your power sets, realism is also about how the world reacts to supers. The more powerful you have the characters, the less realism should be a priority. Vigilante laws seem passe if the PCs can throw boulders and superhero insurance that doesn’t require loads of red tape seems out of place if the heros are taking part in the backalley brawls
Check out the two Card Catalog sets of Superheros, one with a 90s bit of Flair and one with a more modern sensibility using the Marvel FASERIP – Nightblade – and Mutants & Masterminds – Argonauts – Systems respectively.
The flash of blue lightning streaked across the street in an instant. Then it stopped and standing there was a young lady wearing a blue speed suit with an arc of lightning on her chest. The edges of her wounds where closing at a rate that was inhuman. She grasped the light pole and swung herself up pole and the flash of the lightning as she disappeared and the arc of lightning shot up and to the wire running out of the pole into the city. A fraction of a second later she exploded out of the phone line on the far side of town. As she came into regular time the rest of her team stepped out of the space fold that Jumper used to teleport groups of people.
Once again, she thought to herself, I am alone. This is getting to be a regular thing and I don’t like it. Not one bit.
The group known as the Justifiers had arrived to stop this next incursion of the of the Titans and not the kids that have that name these are aliens from the moon we call Titan. Once again we have to stop them. None of this would even be an issue if Jumper hadn’t found that damn secret base of his. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal but when it is a combat ship marooned here from Titan that makes for a different story. I am not sure how I can help to stop this. I am just a speedster. I mean I am fast not Flash fast but still fast. And I can do things he can’t do. Thanks Cadmus Labs for as they called it Fixing my genetic properties. Maybe I can help in a different city this one is just starting to get crowded with heroes.
Guard-a-Manger – Corragiosco Bay
Sometimes a city will take on a life of its own, New York, Los Angeles, Boise … they all have their unique aspects and personality. It was, maybe, inevitable, that Corragiosco Bay would find it’s feet like the other urban luminaries of our age. The striking vista of the city, perched on the edge of a peninsula with the bluff faces raising sharply behind it, the metal and glass glittering in the sun while the cool blue water frames it all has been seen on more postcards than you can count.
Urban legends being what they are, everyone expected a curse or great evil to befall the city, but the worst thing that the citizens have to face is fall out from Praetorian’s fights, with a far more reasonable insurance rate that The Big Apple’s, and the occasional tidal wave. What is the most surprising is how easily the docks seem to be never more than 10 minutes away. It doesn’t matter what the traffic is like, or the weather, the docks and some warehouses are within a short roller skate ride no matter where you seem to be. That, though, doesn’t really matter, as a new day dawns in Corragiosco Bay and nothing could possibly go wrong….
… But you do have to ask yourself, how did you get here, when did you manage to wake up wearing a headband and these neon fingerless gloves, and why is there synthpop on the cassette player?
thane noun \ ˈthān \
1: a free retainer of an Anglo-Saxon lord
especially : one resembling a feudal baron by holding lands of and performing military service for the king
2: a Scottish feudal lord
Thane geographical name Tha·ne | \ ˈtä-nə \
Definition of Thane (Entry 2 of 2)
town in the state of Maharashtra, western India, north-northeast of Mumbai population 1,841,500
First Known Use of thane
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1
Bottom 50% of words
Zendead- The Strain by del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Nulloperations- Law and the Multiverse
Guard-a-Manger-The Science of Superheroes is a book that takes the realism to the Nth degree – if you want to talk about what would “really” happen if the Flash has his powers, or Bruce Banner was hit by a Gamma Bomb, this is the book for you! A bit tongue in cheek but also a reminder of just how much we let our suspension of disbelief go for the sake of a good mythological story!
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