In Search of a Supers System

Gringnr

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Ooh, yeah, I probably should have been more specific about that as well - sort of supers power level I'm aiming for.

I'd like for the game to be able to have its strengths in the power levels that you might see in the X-Men/MCU films as opposed to the DC stuff, and probably less Thor and more Cap/Wolverine levels of ability.
I'm gonna recommend Golden Heroes, and I'm surprised no one else has.

Pros:
-Specifically designed to be at late 70s/80s X-Men/Avengers power levels
-Started as a hombrew of Gamma World 1e, so the mechanics have some similarity to old-school D&D (3d6 stats, descending "AC", d20 matrix attack table)
-Does a better job of simulating comics than any rpg I've seen
-Easy, fun chargen (I mean REALLY fun, to the point of being addictive)

Cons:
-OOP (but there is a FREE and faithful retroclone- http://www.mediafire.com/file/xo7235od25oee4x/Codename_Spandex.pdf/file), and pricey used
-Random chargen (actually, more semi-random, but will not be to everyone's taste)
-Old-school design (can be a little clunky in places)
-Not many published adventures, and inconsistent quality in those

It was, at one point, in the running to be the first officially licensed Marvel Game. It's amazing, warts and all.
 
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Gringnr

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I'm gonna recommend Golden Heroes, and I'm surprised no one else has.

Pros:
-Specifically designed to be at late 70s/80s X-Men/Avengers power levels
-Started as a hombrew of Gamma World 1e, so the mechanics have some similarity to old-school D&D (3d6 stats, descending "AC", d20 matrix attack table)
-Does a better job of simulating comics than any rpg I've seen
-Easy, fun chargen (I mean REALLY fun, to the point of being addictive)

Cons:
-OOP (but there is a FREE and faithful retroclone- http://www.mediafire.com/file/xo7235od25oee4x/Codename_Spandex.pdf/file), and pricey used
-Random chargen (actually, more semi-random, but will not be to everyone's taste)
-Old-school design (can be a little clunky in places)
-Not many published adventures, and inconsistent quality in those

It was, at one point, in the running to be the first officially licensed Marvel Game. It's amazing, warts and all.

I should point out that the author of Golden Heroes does have a newer, currently available game that is a spiritual successor. It's called Squadron UK, and it's got a great mixture of old and new design elements.

Full game:

PWYW Basic version:
 

Cam Banks

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I'm obviously biased toward Marvel Heroic Roleplaying because I wrote it.

I will also second Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game, which currently has a Starter Set (with pregens) and it had a successful Kickstarter to get the core rulebook and several supplements made. That game's due out this year. So, not soon enough for you if you'd like to make your own characters, but not too far off. I'm biased toward this because I'm one of the designers, also.

If you're really keen on 5e and so are your players, and want a bolt-on set of powers that works with that system but elevates the PCs to super hero status with a system of power tiers etc, I'd suggest looking at Apex 5e which does, however, need you to also pick up Ultramodern 5e to use it. But there's a bundle!
 

Vincent Takeda

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If your players are used to D&D, I recommend Palladium's heroes unlimited. Its built on essentially the same foundations as D&D so your learning curve is low.
 

Cam Banks

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If your players are used to D&D, I recommend Palladium's heroes unlimited. Its built on essentially the same foundations as D&D so your learning curve is low.
Palladium is built on a percentage based skill system and the d20 based combat mechanics are pretty different too. I don’t think I’d recommend it!
 

Chris Brady

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Palladium is built on a percentage based skill system and the d20 based combat mechanics are pretty different too. I don’t think I’d recommend it!
Yeah, I'm with Cam on this one.

I don't have any other Supers games that's D20 based, although I collect them as a hobby inside the hobby, so I can't really suggest anything beyond what I have.
 

Steve Dubya

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Have you heard of Prowlers & Paragons?
I have, but only just really heard of it. I recall there was a KS recently for a new edition, and I get the impression that there were some significant changes to it from the original version. It's a dice pool system of some sort, yes?
 

James Gillen

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I would have to wait for the new version to come out for Prowlers & Paragons to make the comparison, but I contributed to the Kickstarter.
Most rolls are D6 and the power scale and power creation are very similar to Mutants & Masterminds, with somewhat less math.

JG
 

Vincent Takeda

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probably the only drawback to the palladium system is the online haters community. The system itself is light enough to be nimble for houserules but crunchy enough to be satisfying. Its an easy system to grok that has the bulk of comic book archetypes without the pedantics of build-a-bear powers.
 

Dumarest

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Palladium is built on a percentage based skill system and the d20 based combat mechanics are pretty different too. I don’t think I’d recommend it!
"Pretty different" in the sense of "a lot better and more interactive." :thumbsup:
 

Tommy Brownell

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I'm obviously biased toward Marvel Heroic Roleplaying because I wrote it.

I will also second Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game, which currently has a Starter Set (with pregens) and it had a successful Kickstarter to get the core rulebook and several supplements made. That game's due out this year. So, not soon enough for you if you'd like to make your own characters, but not too far off. I'm biased toward this because I'm one of the designers, also.

If you're really keen on 5e and so are your players, and want a bolt-on set of powers that works with that system but elevates the PCs to super hero status with a system of power tiers etc, I'd suggest looking at Apex 5e which does, however, need you to also pick up Ultramodern 5e to use it. But there's a bundle!
I'm rather looking forward to the character generation in Sentinels. The first four adventures in the Quickstart went over pretty well (life has prevented us from playing the finale thus far), but it damn sure modeled the characters from the card game well, so I'm curious to see if that translates to other characters when I have the full rules in hand.
 

James Gillen

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Mad props to you for enjoying it, but I don't think "a lot better and more interactive" is a common opinion of Palladium combat rules vs D&D.
Pro: Palladium has more combat options than just "we hit each other until someone runs out of hit points."
Con: it isn't even as smooth as D&D.

JG
 

Dumarest

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Mad props to you for enjoying it, but I don't think "a lot better and more interactive" is a common opinion of Palladium combat rules vs D&D.
If so, it's only because most D&D players haven't experienced it and don't know any better.
 

The Butcher

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As another gamer who’s ever searching for a supers game (and currently defaults to Savage Worlds with the Super Powers Companion) — and perhaps more importantly, as someone who’s emotionally invested in Palladium (see avatar) — I have to admit that Heroes Unlimited has an appeal to me that’s beyond logic or sanity.

Only Palladium could cook up a class-and-level based superhero RPG with multiple incompatible power subsystems (some cribbed wholesale from Palladium’s other, non-necessarily genre-appropriate offerings) and make me interested.

I’ve never ran it but it keeps tempting me. (Only ever used it to generate time-displaced Rifts PCs.) I’ve also heard good things about Bill Coffin’s setting books, so I might pick them up some day to run with my favorite supers game...
 

Silverlion

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Bill Coffin's settings are worth it. Note: I'm not a Palladium fan anymore but was in my youth, and I found some character archetypes incredibly underpowered in the most recent edition (prior editions they had some odd power quirks that made them somewhat useful. But still limited) A primary example is psionics, where the system REALLY, doesn't fit any form of comic book psi's at all.

I'll note, however, the game shines in lower powered character though. If you brought down some of the OP powers (Body of Metal, Invulnerability) you could have a really strong game where Palladium would work as much as it does anyway.
 

Z-Man

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Thanks, might have to give it another shot when (face-to-face) Boot Hill winds down. Got any tips for coming up with those three "tags" (I forget what the game term was) like "It's Clobberin' Time" and "I'm the Best There is at What I Do"? That's another place we struggled with original PCs.
Distinctions! I've had some fun with those.

A couple of options:

*Look at Fate characters. They have aspects, which are very similar (although in MHRP they are applied a bit differently)

*Just think of what the characters can do, and who they are, and use those as a base. Got a mega-rich guy? Then try "More Money Than God" or "Third Wealthiest Man Alive." Got a strong woman? Go with stuff like "Strongest Woman on Earth" or "Mutant Powerhouse."

The thing with Distinctions is that they're facets of who the characters are, and they provide a great basis for the powers and/or Secret ID. Having "Atlantean" as part of a Distinction, for example, immediately makes the character aquatic, and also ties him or her into an underwater society. Then you can decide what part they play in Atlantis as a whole, so they might be an "Atlantean Prince," meaning they have royal responsibilities but also royal powers. "The Spy From Atlantis" meanwhile might be gathering intel on the surface world while "The Atlantean Reed Richards" is probably the smartest person in the underwater world.

The Distinctions are fun, as they automatically have positive and negative connotations (the D8/D4 decision). "Damn, I'm Handsome" might sound like it's it's only a positive thing, but it if the character is trying to sneak through a party or avoid being noticed, that D4 (plus a Plot Point!) makes more sense.

I wouldn't sweat them too much. If someone can only think of two, then start them with those and add a third one later. If the Distinctions are pretty basic ("Fast Guy"), go with that to start and then add onto it as the game progresses and the players get to know their characters a bit better ("Hey! I just realized that my character is the 'Fastest Guy in Milwaukee!'").
 

Cam Banks

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Distinctions are kind of like your character's elevator pitch. You should be able to say all three and give other people a good grasp of your character's background, personality, and attitude.
 
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