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Tabletop RPGers only Interlock Unlimited Super Powers

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Wisdom000
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Tabletop RPGers only Interlock Unlimited Super Powers

Postby Wisdom000 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:19 pm

So here at work, I ha ve been doing what I can until I can get my
computer set up at home again. I have been working on the super
powers. I am going to keep things as vague as possible, the goal is
that the examples I list and the rules for them will be
guidelines,so that creative GM's and players can come up with wholly
unique characters and powers. The rulesw are meant to only provide
the barest restraints in terms of power level and effect. Do do
this I listed the most powers by the most common types, and gave a
power rating based on amount of points you can spend on the power,
from 1-5, 1 being slightly powered, 5 being superman level. This
allows GM's to set the power level of their game by merely
restricting the amount of points that can be spent on a power, so
that the game can accurately reflect the style of supers game one
wants to play. For street level low powers, 1-3 points are the
limit, for mid level, spiderman, captain america, wolverine levels,
4 points, then for justice league/avengers type games, they can
spend 5 points......

It was important to keep things as vague as possible, unlike other
games where they have humongous lists of possible powers, measured
down to exacting detail, yet still making it impossible to cover all
the possible powers or combinations, I wanted to go the opposite
route. The idea being if you are going to play in a superhero
campaign, you will at least have a vague knowledge of comics and
superheros, and be able to figure out something wholly unique and
different, but still fun and engaging. Of course if you simply want
to emulate the characters from your popular universes, that is
possible too. Some are harder than others, and balance may be an
issue when munchkins come into play, but no more so than in any
other similiar game. In effect, by leaving things vague, I am
hoping to discourage rules lawyering, and munchkinism, by
emphasising creativity and ingenuity for both players and GM's.

I don't know how well this method will work for magic and psionics
rules, but as soon as I can get this section finished If
at all possible I would love for magic and psionics to be as equally open to
interpretation as possible.

So does anyone think this sounds like an interesting mechanic?
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Postby Strict31 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:14 pm

The base concept of a scale determining level of relative power is similar to something a friend of mine whipped up for a supers RPG several years ago.

The problem with vague, generalized systems is, obviously, that they can be too vague in a game about superbeings who can potentially shit on the laws of both physics and game balance. I recall playing Mage: The Awakening and thinking what a seemingly elegant and versatile system Sphere Magick was. Until you get that one player who breaks the thing.

I'm pretty sure I've suggested this particular game system to you before, but in case you do not recall, I suggest trying to get a hold of a copy of either Godlike or Wild Talents. They operate under the same ruleset and are set in the same game world. Not unlike Mutants and Masterminds, it divides every super power into basic components or "Effects". And every effect is governed by for different qualities which can be purchased, obviously.

For example, Cyclops' ruby eyebeam would just be a generic power called "Harm". But it would be purchased with a ranged element, as opposed to say Wolverine, who would also possess "Harm", but with a melee element. I'm generalizing like a mo'fo', here because I haven't looked at the rules in years. But the basic idea is that the system gives you these very base, very vague, very generalized elements, and the player literally builds each power from the ground up, tailoring it specifically to his wishes.

But Wild Talents has perhaps more specificity than you're looking for. It is a fairly crunchy system...but is chewy on the inside. I suggest it merely as a guideline or as inspiration.

Also as an almost completely random suggestion: you'd better figure out your units of movement per round or turn or what-have-you, because there's gonna be that one player who wants to know how many areas/round the speed of light is...
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Postby daitong » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:11 am

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Postby Nightfly » Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:02 am

I adapt everything to the HERO System myself - I won't play another system.

The Hero System 5th Edition Rulebook (Revised) is indeed the 'Ultimate Gamer's Toolkit'!

Widely regarded as the best roleplaying game system ever created (look into it).

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Postby kingbobb » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:00 am

Mutants and Masterminds does this, albeit with a large power list, and it's d20 based, although so much of a departure from the base system that you'll only recognize it because of the skill/feat/power breakdown.

The Heroes/Champions system worked like that, too, although I never liked the idea of rolling a bucketful of dice.

Scaling is a pretty huge problem. Palladium ran into all sorts of trouble when they introduced the Rifts setting. A reality-based system gives you Prime taking off people's heads with a casual backhand, whereas in most comic-settings, you want Superman to be able to punch someone through a wall and not have them end up as a stain against the wall.

A value of 1-5 doesn't leave you with a lot of room. With Superman and Thor at 5, that puts a lot of people in the 3-4 category...Spider Man, Hulk in most cases, Power Man, with Captain America a 2, and normal people a 1. Maybe increasing the scale might help some.

The old Marvel Superheroes game was % based, but also applied adjectives instead of just numbers to abilities. So instead of having a strength of say 18, you'd have Normal, Amazing, Good, Weak, Incredible, etc. Powers could be built around the same system, with the particulars boiled down to a few base powers, and essentially the player could make up the special effects that went with it. It wasn't as complex or sophisticated as today's point-buy based systems, but it let you build very convincing comic characters.
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Postby Strict31 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:26 am

kingbobb wrote:Mutants and Masterminds does this, albeit with a large power list, and it's d20 based, although so much of a departure from the base system that you'll only recognize it because of the skill/feat/power breakdown.


The thing that should be stressed with Mutants and Masterminds is that every listed power is really nothing more than an example of how you can individually construct powers. They've done the busy work on old standards like Flight and Super-Strength. But if you feel a hankerin' to whip up some rules for "Friction Control", you're good to go.

Scaling is a pretty huge problem. Palladium ran into all sorts of trouble when they introduced the Rifts setting. A reality-based system gives you Prime taking off people's heads with a casual backhand, whereas in most comic-settings, you want Superman to be able to punch someone through a wall and not have them end up as a stain against the wall.


I think both Mutants and Masterminds and Wild Talents handled scaling rather well. It easily allows a non-powered Batman type to hang and bang alongside a Superman type with no loss of fun and no sense that the Batman type isn't contributing.

And that's a rare thing.

The old Marvel Superheroes game was % based, but also applied adjectives instead of just numbers to abilities. So instead of having a strength of say 18, you'd have Normal, Amazing, Good, Weak, Incredible, etc. Powers could be built around the same system, with the particulars boiled down to a few base powers, and essentially the player could make up the special effects that went with it. It wasn't as complex or sophisticated as today's point-buy based systems, but it let you build very convincing comic characters.


Well, the success/failure scaling on the Universal Chart kept MSH from being truly percentage based despite its attributes being given a range of 01 to 00.

And you know, looking back on it, I'm not really sure the characters made were that convincing. It's those goddamned Health Points, which are really the same difference as hit points. I don't think, in retrospect that it accurately modeled a lot of Marvel heroes. It's hard to imagine characters like Cyclops or Angel hanging around in combat against even mooks in that game.
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Postby John Q. » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:38 am

It does sound interesting, seems to allow a nice range within powers to let you up the scale from character to character. How does 'buying' powers work in character-gen? is it points buy or something similar?

I played a 3 session guest slot in an M&M game once, set in Neopolis (from Top Ten). The character i made (Federal Agent Mauser) had telepathy and mind control, but limited to rats and mice, and he had this bag from which he could produce the vermin (basically like a D&D bag of holding, filled with rats).

I'd never played M&M but i was impressed how much you could do with my relatively limited powers. Compared to the super TK character we had, and the teleporting mauler villain we faced, he held his own.

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Postby Count Duckula » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:48 am

SPEAK ENGLISH

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