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Old 04-16-2017, 02:44 PM   #1
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Default Supers Roleplaying Games

So someone posted in another forum that they thought GURPS was the best system for Supers roleplaying. I asked why but it was a thread derailment and I am curious so asking the question here.
I have played and/or run Hero Systems Champions, GURPS Supers Third Edition, Villains and Vigilantes, Super World, Palladium supers (forget what it was called) and at least one other from about the time of V&V.
I have friends who play Mutants and Masterminds but have not done so myself.
Of those the best in my opinion was Champions.
However Champions lacked some things we could do in GURPS Supers.
  • Champions: Cinematic and able to do a variety of tasks, point build system so fairly balanced. Weakness was skills and the Speed system.
  • GURPS Third Edition: Great depth but used Power Groups which had some balacne issues. Also too ahrd to design new balanced power groups.
  • GURPS Fourth Edition: Ran some one off games and played in more but not a full campaign yet. However it has the depth and realitist or cinematic options and can handle any charecter I have thought of from the comics. Weakness you need to use a Bucket of Points system to keep people from going crazy on skills. High attributes can make generalists too easy so Talents, Ant-Talents and advantages encouraged. Default ST is too pricey for heavy lifting but this is fixed if you use "Knowing Your Own Strength" Pyramid 3/83. Building powers can take awhile so charecter creation can be cumbersome.
  • Palliadium Just a bad system.
  • Super World Was fun but dated and I honestly dont remember that much about it anymore
  • Villains and Vigilantes: Random system so some balance issues. New version coming out anytime now as they had a kickstarter.
  • Mutants and Masterminds: I understand this is another random system?
Looking for group in my area
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Old 04-16-2017, 03:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

My go-to system for supers is Champions/Hero System, but I can add a few others to your list:

Supers! Revised Edition: Much simpler than Champions, but has more flexibility in play. It works like the comics in that you may have, for example, Ice Powers that you can use defensively, offensively, etc. rather than the individual aspects being defined as in Champions, GURPS, etc. Since you can only use each attribute once per round, as you defend and attack you end up having to be creative and tactical in the way characters are in the comic books. The problem is this demands constant creativity from everyone. Without it, the game becomes monotonous.

Marvel Super Heroes: TSR's good ol' FASERIP was an inspired design. Fully kitted out with the Ultimate Powers book and Realms of Magic, the Advanced Set can provide years of gaming in the classic Marvel comic style. The system is relatively light and does replicate the feel of the comics pretty well. If they'd been able to release an updated Advanced Set to go along with the updated Basic Set they released in the early 90s, this one could still be going strong. But even so, the original is still very good, and there is lots of support out there even today.

Superhero 2044: The very first superhero RPG, it's quirky and strange, but the reprint is also available cheaply and should be read by anyone interested in the history of the genre. It's not really a complete game, but because it was incomplete it inspired the authors of Champions to create their awesome and enduring product.

Supergame: This historical curiosity was a direct ripoff of Superhero 2044, just with the missing bits added.

That's all I have time for right now...
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Old 04-16-2017, 03:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

I've also played TSR's Marvel Super-Heroes Advanced Set and Mayfair's DC Heroes 5e (or whichever version was the "Death and Life of Superman" era)

TSR Marvel Super-Heroes: Pros: Good, flexible system for character creation, able to handle Aunt May through Eternity, and everything in-between (including the In-Betweener). Scales decently between "mundane" and "cosmic" level characters. The Advanced Set answered some issues from the original Basic Set on cosmic-scale characters and reworked Resources from a points-based system to a stat check system. Cons: Does not work as neatly in combat as it could.

Mayfair DC Heroes: Its exponential stat scaling may fit the comics (though Superman having a strength score enabling him to bench-press 9 to 12 digits of tons broke my suspension of disbelief), but everything wound up far too abstract in practice, IMO.

EDIT: ninjaed on the TSR Marvel game....
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Old 04-16-2017, 05:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

FASERIP Marvel if I want something simple. That game is easy to roll characters up for, even if using the advanced rules and UPB.

When I want it with characters who are less cardstock and a game where fighting is less of a focus, I've used GURPS 3e and GURPS 4e supers since 1990.

I find GURPS Powers and Supers 4e give me quite a bit to run with.

Heroes Unlimited is the Palladium supers game, which I used mainly to go with TMNT as it was even less balanced than mutant animals kicking and fighting.

I owned the SAGA Marvel and did not like it, as the card aspect of character creation bothered me. However, that was better than the Marvel game before Marvel Heroic that used glass stones and bidding mechanisms.

I never really got into other supers system, as I'm more a gamist than a narrativist, and don't like to have some story thing take away player choice.
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

I started seriously gaming with a CHAMPIONS group that used HERO system for everything, and for a long time that was my preferred system for Supers campaigns, even though I used GURPS for most other uses. (Okay, and 2nd ed AD&D for dungeon crawls. And TFOS for TFOS) But with the 4th Edition, GURPS handles Supers much better than it did with the 3rd Edition, and also my wife became something of a GURPS snob and didn't see why we should use anything else.

I'm not really familiar with any other Supers systems, apart from trying to read through Palladium and setting it aside.
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Old 04-16-2017, 10:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

Well, GURPS Supers 3e was a good idea but it was generally bad overall. Too many balance issues.

But, to me, playing Supers on 4ed is just perfect. Why? First of all, super heroes are generally unique. While you can trace certain lines about "types" of Supers, like the super strong bruisers, the "blasters" and so on, each character's powers are rather unique. While Magic and Psi powers are incredible, they follow some "recipes". Even improvisational Magic follows certain rules.

Now, super powers are most of the time unique.

For example, a friend of mine once played with "Captain Acme", an adaptation of Snatcher that costed 633 pts who allowed him to... Well, remember the movie "The Mask"? Pretty much it. He was fun as hell.

This kind of thing is only possible with the great variability offered by the system of traits that can be adapted with Enhancements and Limitations of GURPS.

The only real problem is, once again and obviously, complexity. And that's why I think that a "Supers RPG" following the idea of DFRPG would be a hit
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Old 04-16-2017, 11:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
[*]Mutants and Masterminds: I understand this is another random system?
It's not, it's point build. It has its flaws, but overall I'd class it superior to GURPS for running Supers.
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Old 04-17-2017, 01:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

I have to give Palladium some credit. Their Aliens Unlimited "cosmic" section of the Heroes Unlimited game, as well as the rest of their setting books for HU gave a fairly good setting. Settings are what Palladium does best, IMO, even if their system is ... let's just say the word isn't fit for the forums and leave it at that.

That said, I'm much more likely to use GURPS 4e - with or without Knowing Your Own Strength - as my go-to system. If I run a supers game in GURPS, I'll ask for a concept and then assign points based on that concept rather than say "X points", though I'd likely be giving an idea for the kind of team I'm looking for: street-level vigilantes, Claremont-era X-Men, New Teen Titans/New Titans, etc.
"Life ... is an Oreo cookie." - J'onn J'onzz, 1991

"But mom, I don't wanna go back in the dungeon!"

The GURPS Marvel Universe Reboot Project A-M and N-Z, and its not-a-wiki-really web adaptation.
Ranoc, a Muskets-and-Magery Renaissance Fantasy Setting

Last edited by Phantasm; 04-17-2017 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

I have run supers in FUDGE, and it went well, though I should note it was a "hidden from the world" version of Supers, like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Planetary. My guidelines for creating supers are a short chapter in the latest edition of FUDGE.

My full run of supers and sort-of-supers campaigns has used Champions, DC Heroes, Space 1889 (not a system I'd used again), Godlike (not a system I'd used again), FUDGE, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, GURPS Supers, the Laundry Files RPG, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (not a system I'd use again).

If I run another supers campaign in the near future, I expect it will be GURPS Supers againóbut it won't be emulating classic four-color supers. Though I've also looked at ideas for using Mage: The Ascension or Big Eyes Small Mouth. I don't think BESM would work well for full-scale four-color supers with cosmic power levels, but I can see it for, say, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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Old 04-17-2017, 10:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: Supers Roleplaying Games

My go to hero games in order first to last...

Marvel Heroic RP (Cortex Plus - MWP)
Advanced Marvel Super Heroes (aka FASERIP - TSR)
Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game (Saga System - TSR)

I like Hero system, but not for supers.
I like CORPS, but not for supers, tho' it does supers in a reasonable manner.

I've read but not played:
Marvel Universe (Marvel Comics Group)
Smallville (Cortex Plus - MWP)
Aeon Trinity (Storyteller pre-nWOD, WWG)

I've run but won't ever run again:
GURPS Supers
Villains and Vigilantes 1E
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