What Supers Game Handles Powers The Bestest?

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Rogerdee

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That said, the 2nd edition Super Powers Companion got better, and I hope the SWADE version knocks it out of the park.
I am absolutely stoked for this when it comes out; and Martial Arts which I hope gets the SW equivalent of Gurps Martial Arts.
 

Z-Man

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I have a lot of love for ICONS these days. Flexible, clearly written, boom.
That's what I'm leaning toward these days as well (after starting with SH2044, moving on to V&V, running Champions for 2 decades and then playing quite a bit of MHR). I do think there are a few sections that could use some clarification, but I don't think that's unusual in the supers RPG market (MHR had some real head-scratching moments at first as well, until it clicked).

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for me was getting past the Fate elements (as we play quite a bit of that) and realizing that ICONS simply did some things differently. I think it helped that I read the original Marvel game and got more of a feel for what Steve Kenson was working towards with ICONS.
 

jay

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Celebrity stunts aside, Champions still works as good now as it did back in the day. I didn't get 6E because it was bad it just redundant compared to 5e. Even then I still got Fantasy Hero Complete.

View attachment 29194

That boxed set is what got me into gaming. I found it in a used bookstore for $2 when I was 8 or 9 and have been hooked ever since.
 

Vargold

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What Paragon said. It's streamlined/simplified, but it's still a point-buy system.
 
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Majestic

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The unique approach of SUPERS RED! (in combat, anyway) is that you can only use each power once a turn, for the most part. So instead of somebody, say, always using their flame blast, characters are forced to become creative and use their other abilities, attributes, or skills for further attacks or to defend with.
 

TristramEvans

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If you really dislike distributing points to get powers, it still does that. They're big chunky points (because each one is a "die" of a power) but its still fundamentally that approach.
I don't have any particular issues with point-buy in general as a form of chargen. MSH has a point-buy option, DCH uses it. It's really just how it's implemented.

However...

The unique approach of SUPERS RED! (in combat, anyway) is that you can only use each power once a turn, for the most part. So instead of somebody, say, always using their flame blast, characters are forced to become creative and use their other abilities, attributes, or skills for further attacks or to defend with.

That's a bit too gamey for my taste. But good to know, thanks.
 

Vargold

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It's actually very fluid and easy since Powers are really just dice pools and not fixed mechanics. So the Human Torch has Energy Blast, Flame Control, Flight, Athletics, etc. Most of those Powers will end up used for defense in a given round, and I find that intuitive.
 

TristramEvans

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It's actually very fluid and easy since Powers are really just dice pools and not fixed mechanics. So the Human Torch has Energy Blast, Flame Control, Flight, Athletics, etc. Most of those Powers will end up used for defense in a given round, and I find that intuitive.

Sure, I have some very particular aesthetic tastes so I'm hard to please, dont take my reticence as a criticism. I simply know what I want from a system well enough that it's easy for me to tell when a system won't correlate with my playstyle.
 

Paragon

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I don't have any particular issues with point-buy in general as a form of chargen. MSH has a point-buy option, DCH uses it. It's really just how it's implemented.

However...



That's a bit too gamey for my taste. But good to know, thanks.

Its not gamey per se, so much as trying to emulate certain genre conventions. Of course that might not be any better from where you sit.

(My only complaint with it is it can end up reinforcing one distinctly counter-genre element, namely the benefit in most games of concentrating fire on one target.)
 

TristramEvans

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Its not gamey per se, so much as trying to emulate certain genre conventions. Of course that might not be any better from where you sit.

(My only complaint with it is it can end up reinforcing one distinctly counter-genre element, namely the benefit in most games of concentrating fire on one target.)

Yeah, I just don't care for the enforcement of genre tropes/cliches through the rules myself, but that's a long topic for another thread.
 

Paragon

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Yeah, I just don't care for the enforcement of genre tropes/cliches through the rules myself, but that's a long topic for another thread.

I have complicated feelings about it myself, but its hard to argue that with heavily stylized genres like supers proper (as compared to the related but not identical people-with-powers subgenre), if you don't have some rules support, the result doesn't usually end up looking much like the genre in the end. Hard to argue with people who'd like their superhero game to look, well, like superheroes.
 

TristramEvans

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I have complicated feelings about it myself, but its hard to argue that with heavily stylized genres like supers proper (as compared to the related but not identical people-with-powers subgenre), if you don't have some rules support, the result doesn't usually end up looking much like the genre in the end. Hard to argue with people who'd like their superhero game to look, well, like superheroes.

Oh, it's very easy to argue against it, done so manymany times, but as I said, topic for another thread.
 

Tristan

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This is a spin-off from the Moderation Criticism thread. You’ll have to read a few posts to get the gist of the conversation.

GURPS vs HERO might work because they both known as toolkit RPGs.
For superhero games themselves, I have to go with DC Heroes. While I played the heck out of MSH back in the day, it irked me that guys like Daredevil or the Punisher in a fight would have to hit a thug three times just to bring him down, let alone a group of them. DC just handled street characters better than MSH, despite the criticism that people at the level "all look the same".

For the question regarding which handles powers the bestest, however, I'd have to go with MSH. If it wasn't in the Ultimate Powers book, you could just write up your own power and explain what it does. No need for costs/factors/points. It wasn't balanced but it worked.
 

TristramEvans

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I'd argue there are quite a few genre rules baked right into the core mechanic.
It's very probable the two of you are talking about different things. The core mechanic of MEGs certainly doesn't fit any conception of a "genre mechanic" as I would use the term.
 

Paragon

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It's very probable the two of you are talking about different things. The core mechanic of MEGs certainly doesn't fit any conception of a "genre mechanic" as I would use the term.

You don't think the open-ended damage mechanic at least eliminates some genres? Particularly with its frequency? I'd be very surprised to see a non-supers game that found the not-infrequent output of that desirable.

(You do see something vaguely like it in Savage Worlds, but its not nearly as frequent to the extent you see it in MEGS. As I recall, in fact, they had to apply one of those optional rules just to dial it down for more street-level games, though its been enough years I could be conflating it with something else (which I recall SW also does if you want something less pulpy and over-the-top than its default, and even within its normal rules you have the Heavy Armor mechanic to prevent some of the things MEGS accepts without comment).

Edit: And of course there's the default business of being able to treat any attack no matter its potency as nonlethal. That's about as genre-defining as you can get when it comes to superheroes.
 

TristramEvans

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You don't think the open-ended damage mechanic at least eliminates some genres? Particularly with its frequency? I'd be very surprised to see a non-supers game that found the not-infrequent output of that desirable.

No, I don't associate that with one specific genre, but that's kinda besides the point as you just switched from talking about the core mechanic to the combat system?
 

Paragon

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No, I don't associate that with one specific genre, but that's kinda besides the point as you just switched from talking about the core mechanic to the combat system?

Even the noncombat application of that rule looks pretty odd outside a narrow range of genres; its just the damage application is particularly striking because it can map to real world results easier. But a massive Effect roll on a skill roll you barely have isn't, in the end, any less over the top, its just a little less obvious.
 

Tristan

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It's very probable the two of you are talking about different things. The core mechanic of MEGs certainly doesn't fit any conception of a "genre mechanic" as I would use the term.
I'd say the knockback rule is pretty specific, although it was considered killing combat and therefore didn't really represent the general supers genre. We always negated that part.
 

Paragon

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I'd say the knockback rule is pretty specific, although it was considered killing combat and therefore didn't really represent the general supers genre. We always negated that part.

I'm also hard pressed to think of a non-super-centric game that used powers-of-two as its steps; all three of the ones that come to mind were supers games.

(You do get some at least not purely supers games that had non-linear progressions, but the ones I can think of aren't as steep).

Of course you can quite legitimately say that's a necessity of power scale rather than genre, per se.
 

TristramEvans

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I'd say the knockback rule is pretty specific, although it was considered killing combat and therefore didn't really represent the general supers genre. We always negated that part.

I think part of the issue is there is no single superheroes genre, a superhero is a character archetype that has been applied to myriads of genres over the years.

I would say that MEGs definitely is geared towards a higher power level and cinematic action, but that's far from limited to superheroes, covering everything from mythology, to fairy tales, to pulp adventure, to space opera, and even more animated or cartoony adventure fiction, from Saturday Morning Cartoons to various anime.

Moreover, we've seen MEGs adapted to a lower power scale with Underworld, a game wherein the system could easily be appropriated for cyberpunk fiction and gritty futurism in the vein of Judge Dredd or Robocop.
 

Tristan

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I think part of the issue is there is no single superheroes genre, a superhero is a character archetype that has been applied to myriads of genres over the years.

I would say that MEGs definitely is geared towards a higher power level and cinematic action, but that's far from limited to superheroes, covering everything from mythology, to fairy tales, to pulp adventure, to space opera, and even more animated or cartoony adventure fiction, from Saturday Morning Cartoons to various anime.

Moreover, we've seen MEGs adapted to a lower power scale with Underworld, a game wherein the system could easily be appropriated for cyberpunk fiction and gritty futurism in the vein of Judge Dredd or Robocop.
I missed out on Underground. I'm really wishing I would have picked up a copy.
 

TristramEvans

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I missed out on Underground. I'm really wishing I would have picked up a copy.

It's really a shame the copyright status of the system overall has prevented any current editions of DCH and Underworld, even stripped of the IP.
 

PolarBlues

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One of the biggest stumbling blocks for me was getting past the Fate elements (as we play quite a bit of that) and realizing that ICONS simply did some things differently. I think it helped that I read the original Marvel game and got more of a feel for what Steve Kenson was working towards with ICONS.

The orignal version of ICONS leans less into Fate. Sure you still have Determination Points but you don't have that additional abstraction of Advantage/Trouble. And if it is Aspects that bother you, they can be dropped - it is an official optional rule from the ICONS Team Up book. I find Aspects are a nice way to round and describe a character, but by the 5th session having to call out you battle cry "It's clobbering time" equivalent every time you just want a +2 bonus to hitting something gets a bit tedious.
 

Tommy Brownell

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The orignal version of ICONS leans less into Fate. Sure you still have Determination Points but you don't have that additional abstraction of Advantage/Trouble. And if it is Aspects that bother you, they can be dropped - it is an official optional rule from the ICONS Team Up book. I find Aspects are a nice way to round and describe a character, but by the 5th session having to call out you battle cry "It's clobbering time" equivalent every time you just want a +2 bonus to hitting something gets a bit tedious.

And yet, The Thing does seem to hit harder when he yells that out.

We ran several sessions of ICONS as a break from our ETU campaign and this didn't bother us at all. YMMV and all, though.
 
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