Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Super Idea or The Thoughts of A Mad Man?

Would you purchase, hypothetically, a PDF product which had ideas and information for running Superhero RPGs which was really well illustrated and system free? It would contain, among other things, descriptions of heroes, villains, organizations, plots and subplots, random charts with a little twist and really, really good artwork.

If yes, how big?
What would you want to pay (ballpark)?
Color or B&W?

What else would you like to see in it?

Personally I've always wanted such a product to exist but no one has quite done it. My thinking is that a lot of Supers RPG fans play or have played more than one Supers game, so it's best to have character concepts and ideas but no rules. Also, I have a fairly simply way to lay it out - nothing fancy at all - that makes it easy to print out and put into a folder or notebook (as I do the latter).

Also, I could use to make some extra cash doing something I enjoy. No beating around the bush here at Barking Alien.

Let me know your opinions.

Barking Alien


  1. I'm not a PDF purchaser for the most part but I would want B&W rather than color illustrations, so I can print it at home.

    It sounds like a seriously cool idea though. I would love to see more system-free supplements like that for fantasy and sci-fi too, but supers especially need some help. (truth be told I'm not that into superhero games either, altohugh i used to really like V&V back in the day)

  2. Yeah, I love systemless resources and supers is a genre I've always been interested in but never really known how to approach.

    I'd be most likely to buy something that strikes a balance between thorough and easily digestible (so probably around 32 pages), was B&W (for easy printing), and retailed for no more than $5.00 (although I might go as high as $8.00, depending on content).

  3. I am not your target market. :)

    Be careful, though, as the author effectively - though, not legally - gives up any control of digital content posted on the intrawebz. Either one person buys it and gives copies to all of his buddies, or it gets loaded onto a file sharing site to entice new subscribers. The BATTLETECH to Meka Tac conversions chart posted on my Giant Stompy Robots site is, at last report, residing on no less then 6 file sharing sites. Mind you, this was expected and it was free for down load, so it doesn't really bother me. You'll have to be vigilant with a pay product.

  4. I'd want to know what kind of supers campaign it was aimed at (ie what 'age', tone etc) since as you know the supers genre can cover a wide range.

    As for pricing - I will pretty much buy any PDF that looks interesting if it is under $5 (if it is under $2.50 then it becomes an instant impulse buy!). Up to $10 I will buy if it looks especially cool and usable. Over $10 I'm going to consider carefully whether I really need it (usually, sadly, no).

  5. I'd buy a copy, sure. I'm always looking for handy supers material.

  6. Thanks gang. Keep the ideas and opinions coming. I want to make a cross between 'The Book I've Always Wanted to See' and 'The Book A Good Number Of People Will Actually Want To Purchase'. ;)

  7. I think under $5 is a good cutoff. Under 10$ for sure.

    Are you thinking of a general guide to running a Supers campaign or a guide to a specific world? I think both have value but I wasn't sure from your notes. How about both? "Barking Alien's Guide to Superhero Campaigns" has some promise. Follow it up with "The BA-137 Universe Guide" or something and list all of your favorite heroes, villains, and organizations. You could then do some follow-ups describing specific organizations in more detail and make them generic enough to drop into any campaign.

    One thing to consider though is that ideas aren't always the time-consuming part. Converting those ideas into balanced mechanical units for a specific system is the real trick and would probably generate more sales if you could put it together.

  8. @Blacksteel and by way of answer everyone else...

    My idea is definitely more along the lines of "Barking Alien's Guide to/Sourcebook for Superhero Gaming". I think I'm going to go pretty general and then throw in some ideas for Golden Age, Silver Age, Iron and Modern. I want to include notes on how to run Superhero games set in non-standard though definitely comic book-y milieus such as the far future, World War II, an alternate Earth, etc.

    I will probably include some sample heroes, villains and organizations with how they might appear during the various periods (something I've always wanted to see from professional Superhero RPGs).

    A second book focusing on my own world would rock and is an excellent idea Blacksteel.

    As to system...the problem is, of course, which one to choose and than getting it approved, etc. I may, if the first 'Guide Book' does well, set up the second book under the 'Superpowered by M&M' dealie. For those who don't know what that is it's...well it's this...


  9. Very nice! I approve! Produce said book immediately!

    Now that that's out of the way, system-wise why limit yourself to one? I think Icons has a similar easy licensing system. Not sure what Hero Games does in that department. You could probably do something for the MSH/4 Color system easily enough. Savage Worlds has a licensing system too. I bet the BASH guys would be interested. V&V may have one now during it's rebirth but I'm not sure. GURPS I am not certain about either. The One Roll Engine guys might be worth checking into...

    C'mon, be the first one to support 'em all!

  10. It's funny but that is the reason I am starting systemless...so I can support them all.

    In order to produce the best product possible I am writing what I know, which is how to run Supers.

    I know V&V, M&M and Champions 4th and 5th (for the most part) but I either don't know enough about or don't actually like some of the other Superhero games on the market. I am cool with those who do though and they are more than welcome to purchase my book. ;)

    What I want is a product that's as helpful to the GURPS Supers GM as it is to the BASH Supers GM because inherently it's about Supers.