Sunday, July 17, 2011

10 Things I Love About Superhero Gaming

I've noticed a distinct drop in my viewership lately, especially in regard to discussing my Champions game. That's a bummer. I think it's one of the best campaigns I've run in a long time. Maybe I just haven't conveyed the level of cool properly.

This (as well as today's game) got me to thinking about...

10 Things I Love About Superhero Gaming!

#10) Nothing is impossible!

Somewhere, somehow, some crazy mofo has the ability to spontaneously generate burning tar out of thin air. That's his power. He's 'Tar Pit' or something. Your investigations always end with, "But we know that's not humanly possible. Must've been a super."

#9) It's all in the application
Someone with 'weak' powers can kick butt if they apply them in an interesting and inventive way. The ability to make others intangible will take an enemy out, quite brutally I might add, in no time.

#8) What's in a name?

I love coming up with names for superheroes, supervillains, teams and organizations. Some of my favorites? The Midnite Hour (Hero), Afterlife (Villain), The Northern Lights (Canadian Superhero Team) and Condition R.E.D. (Russian SHIELD like organization).

#7) Better Homes and Guardians
Hideouts, headquarters, bases and batcaves. Nothing is cooler than heading back to your super crib to knock back a few brewskies with the gang after preventing a nameless horror from leaking into your continuum. Bonus points if it's underwater, on the Moon or orbital.

#6) Campaign maps by Google
Oh man, I need a map for my campaign. Well, since it's set on Earth maybe real world maps will work. Yeah! Nobody does cartography like the satellites orbiting the planet you're on.

#5) It's a small world after all.

I love, love, love the ease and speed of transport in modern Supers gaming (and Sci-Fi gaming for that matter). You're in Detroit and the clues lead to the villain's lair being in Bermuda? Go to Bermuda! Half of the team flies and the other half takes the Superteam Jet, except Speedlines who can run there in minutes (yep, even over water.). Super vehicles, unassisted flight, teleportation, superspeed running and other forms of transportation can get you from arctic tundra to burning desert in a jiff.

#4) Inspiration is everywhere.

Some people can be playing D&D, get inspired by a Sci-Fi movie and then have the aliens show up in their medieval fantasy game. That's kind of hard for me. I'm kind of strict about genre. But in Superhero games? Please. Army of goblins lead by an ancient wizard one day, alien invasion by vampiric lizard people the next. No big. It all fits.

#3) Mr. Mustard in the study with a wrench.

My players are...*sobs of joy*...investigating! Oh how I've longed for the PCs to actually use their heads and look for clues, ask questions, do research and jump to conclusions. I am having a ball with the mysteries I am now able to include because I know someone is paying attention to them.

#2) There's more to life then beating up bad guys.

Today one of the PCs decided to repay an NPC who had helped him out by trying to be of use at the Peace Corps hospital the NPC is working at. The PC used his powers to aid a child in the hospital with a weak heart. By creatively applying his powers, he made it possible for the doctors to operate on the child safely. As I've noted numerous times in the past, I think stuff like that is the height of awesome in a Superhero game (or in any game pretty much).

Of course, it is Supers so I can't deny the ultra-cool of...

#1) Sometimes you just need to bean a guy with a dump truck.

Or a bus, or a lamp post or their own getaway car.

Two-handed sword? I got your two-handed sword right here.


Barking Alien


  1. I love supers gaming too, but I'm an ICONS guy these days (I run a weekly game set (time travel notwithstanding) in an alternate version of the post WWII USA. My Shield equivalent is F.I.S.T. the Federal Investigative and Strategic Task-force.

    My blogger avatar is actually a New God like NPC from the game: Ord of the Universals.

  2. Well said! I never got to play many superhero games, as my first group were more interested in other settings, and my current group is hostile to the genre, so I'm vicariously enjoying these updates.

  3. Well it's nice to see some good is coming from posting this stuff. :)

    @Aos - Sounds like an interesting setting and a great acronym. I'm sorry to say I don't love ICONS, partly because I really wanted to. Mutants and Masterminds 3E is my prefered Super game of choice, although I am having a great time revisiting Champions.

    @Kelvingreen - Hostile to the genre eh? Damn, that's rough. I've come to realize that I will play in or GM pretty much any genre with very few exceptions as long as the take on the milieu includes some fantastic element(s).

  4. Supers, especially four color supers, remain one of my favorite genres for many of the reason you list above.

    I am also a fan of M&M3 and I using it for my current LA Stars/heroes of the 1960s.

  5. @BA- Nothing to be sorry about, I felt the same way about M&M 2e. I desperately wanted to like it, but couldn't get past character generation.

  6. Agreed on so many levels. I've played and ran Heroes Unlimited and Champions, but my personal favorite was the Marvel Super Heroes RPG from TSR aka FASERIP. The Power Stunt mechanic in that game really allowed players to get creative with their characters without it unbalancing the game. I remember my brother creating a hero whose only powers were Danger Sense, Armor Skin and Hyper-Leaping. On the surface, it seems like a boring brick of a PC, but he managed to come up with a Power Stunt that gave him a high-powered kick attack using his character's "highly developed leg muscles". It was a blast to say the least.

  7. Yes, yes, and yes again. And yet I've never run a Supers game. Need to remedy that situation soon...

  8. Why are gamers who are Supers fans not running Supers games?! Why?! ARGH! *KRAKA-TA-BOOM* (Head explodes)


  9. I concur with everything you said. These same things pretty much apply to Rifts as well which is probably why I gave that game so many chances over the years - it's effectively PA supers.

    As far as running more capes: it's all about the players. If you pitch it and they aren't interested, then you run what they are interested in and bring it up next time. Thats how I work, anyway.

  10. While I've been entrenched in post-apocalyptic mode for a while now, supers are always my go-to gaming. Glad your campaign is going well!