Tuesday, April 26, 2011
V is for Vigilante and also for Villain
I've spoken about Villains & Vigilantes a number of times in the past but a recently renewed obsession with Superhero gaming, several posts by Blacksteel and the need for a 'V' entry got me wanting to talk about it again.
Thing is, I don't think I've ever said enough about what a major influence that game was one me. It was probably V&V that created the earliest deviation in my preferences, leading me away from D&D toward other games.
The main reason for this boils down to areas of interest. By that I mean, I like comic books more than fantasy novels so it's not all that strange I would prefer to play Superheroes over Knights and Wizards. There were other factors as well. Armor provided protection in V&V but didn't make you harder to hit. This seemed eminently logical to me, even at 13-14 years of age. You could build (or roll up as was generally the case but more on that in a moment) almost any kind of character. I remember homebrew V&V to play D&D, Star Wars and a few other games back in the day.
I really loved V&V back in the day and though I tried other Supers RPGs (all of them I believe), none had that special charm that V&V had. The art helped as well. Most early Supers RPGs looked terrible while Villains and Vigilantes had Jeff Dee doing the art and it looked awesome.
Eventually, V&V would meet its match when I finally played and understand (the latter taking a lot longer then the former) HERO Games' Champions. A creative guy and a comic book fan, I was coming up with my own Superheroes before I'd played or even heard of RPGs. V&V gave to the opportunity to play Supers but Champions let me create my dream heroes.
These days, as you may know, Mutants & Masterminds is my game of choice, especially with the update to 3rd Edition which I find to be superb (though I don't like the NPCs they added to the setting. What was wrong with updating Freedom City? Freedom City Rocks!)
Still and as much as I am not longer enamoured with random tables so much, I periodically crack open the ol' V&V rule book and roll up a character just to see if it inspires something. More often than not, it simply contributes to my desire to run Supers. So in essence, V&V is still doing its job.
The armored superhero pictured above is Excelsior, my favorite of all my characters. I actually created him before I discovered gaming. While rolling up a character for a V&V game I randomly generated a guy who seemed so much like him the GM allowed me to just play Excelsior. The image, from 1992, was done by the amazing Keith Conroy.
PS: On the subject of Supers, my friend the lovely Erin Palette has compiled the saga of her awesome alternate history superheroine Silence Do-Good on her site here. If you're a fan of superheroes, alternate history, Ben Franklin or just well crafted tales, I highly recommend you check it out.