Poll: RPG System for OC Hero Game

  • Just curious what people's preferred RPG would be for an OC hero game. In my experience the system has to be weighted on two sides; ease for players to slip into and ease for a coder to create a c-gen system for.

    My opinions on each are as follows...

    M&M 3: A decent system but I've never felt inspired by it. It often just seems to be a "Ok, we're just balancing that To-Hit and Defense ratio now..." type of a game.

    Hero/Champions: This was my go to game when I was in high school along side FASERIP. While I enjoyed the system I feel it's a bit clunky, slow, and a bear to get new players into.

    Savage Worlds: I only recently discovered this system but I love it. My gaming group is playing two SW campaigns as we speak (Rifts and Necessary Evil). Using the revised Super Powers Companion there has yet to be a character type we can't emulate. The important thing is they feel like the characters types they represent.

    Heroes Unlimited: The Palladium RPG systems have always been a favorite of mine. The only real issue I have with them is how front loaded they are c-gen wise. I don't think it would be difficult to code just tedious and time consuming. It's been so long since I've tried to bring a new player into a Palladium system that I have no idea how well it'd go over.

    DC Heroes RPG: Probably my all time favorite superhero RPG. I currently use it for DC Rebirth and I love it to death. I use a more freeform version of the system but it wouldn't be difficult to lock it down to emulate the RPG more precisely.

    FASERIP / ICONS: I include the newer ICONS here as it is close enough to FASERIP to be almost a second edition of the game. This was the go to gaming system for my High School gaming group, probably because we could throw a character together in 15 seconds. I love the system but feel it falls short in some areas (namely in the social context).

    Other: Aberrant is really the only other system I could think of that would interest me. I've never done a c-gen for it before but I don't think it'd be that difficult really. It's just I always found the game kinda broken. Love the setting though.

  • Margaret Weis' MSHRPG


    DC HEROES is 90% M&M3e and both involve a ton of coding on an existing IPs product. Both systems are highly hackable and with the proper allocation of points I can make a Shadowcat type phaser that cannot be touched, has Uber grapple, and can suffocate someone in 10 rounds.

    MSHRPG is an expired license, is more rp-centric, and has teamwork mechanics. The more "descriptive" chargen and low-crunch dice factor should resonate well with existing SuperMU players who are used to those paragraph +sheets.

  • I am not super familiar with most of these, but used to play HERO system/Champions tabletop. I have to agree with your verdict on it; I always had to have somebody else help me build something and it felt pretty confusing to play. I like the versatility of it and a lot of the concepts in the system in terms of powers, but it's eye-crossingly complicated to learn enough that I think it could be problematic to learn (and code).

    Another thing to check is how the various companies take to having coded systems built -- sometimes that can get iffy. I don't know of any red flags associated with any of these titles, but some companies do have that, so that may help narrow the list down a little if any do.

    Good luck! I'm hopeful this works out, since I'd really like to see an OC Superhero game out there and am looking forward to seeing what happens!

  • @Ghost I actually meant to put that one up there. My group had some fun with it but in the end we just felt that it was maybe TOO generic of a system (most of us ended up rolling a D10 and a few D8s for whatever we were doing). A few people found it pretty difficult to wrap their heads around the stunt mechanic as well. That said I do think the MSHRPG is a viable option for a MUX.

  • Seriously, I think the question is what do you want your players to spend their time doing?
    Posing awesome fight scenes?
    Having intense personality conflicts?
    Undergoing painful character growth?
    Designing powerful characters?
    Playing out tactical battles?
    Emulating known properties?
    Emulating the event structure of comics?

    What are the points you want to hit?

  • Pitcrew

    @ZombieGenesis said in Poll: RPG System for OC Hero Game:

    FASERIP / ICONS: I include the newer ICONS here as it is close enough to FASERIP to be almost a second edition of the game.

    Slight geeky nit pick, ICONS would have to be the third addition. Marvel had two already Basic in 1894 then Advanced in 1986 or 87.

    I voted DC Heroes but honestly Faserip/ icons would work just as well for me. Those are the two are my favorites all time for superhero systems.
    Hero System I like but c-gen is math heavy, Heroes Unlimited I like as well but you will have a lot of people not liking palladium in general as well as not likely the level based nature.
    M+M has the core of a good game but has too many one punch fights for my tastes. If you two players following the books advice of having attacks and damage save at PL then each hit as a 25 percent chance (a roll of a 1 - 5) of resulting in the end of a fight, which means on average in in four fights between equal opponents will end in one hit. Not clue as far to the realism of that but it definitely does not fit the genre as in any medium superhero fights tend to be rather drawn out affairs if the combatants or roughly equal in power.

  • Pitcrew

    I think the OP means the old Mayfair games DC Heroes not the newer one since the Mayfair version is the one in use on DC rebirth which he is the game he mentioned in connection to it.

  • You can fine tune for longevity in fights if desired.

    My Champions game was heavily inspired by Villains & Vigilantes, The Elementals comic, and I guess a lot of Marvel in the 90s, so it was important to me that heroes couldn't ignore most things, yet they survived. So I made it easier to get a lot of Stun and at least moderate Regeneration, and Damage Reduction (capped, as in you stop 6 of 12 per hit) damage so you could get mauled and recover between fights.

    It has been a while but I think you can allow for additional ablating defense or modifiers to that results roll for M&M. You can also change it.

  • The thing about Champions/Hero is that you just have to say 'No'. You have to be willing to go 'No that won't fly' and that's that.

    It'd be amazingly easy to code up a hero creation system that was like the suggest character types in the Champions 6e book. Pick archetype. Pick type of character (For example: Nimble Brick, Brute Brick, Brawler, etc) and then select packages of skills/powers to fit.

    The problem with Champions/Hero games is that it doesn't translate to MU* well due to one stat: Speed.

    Speed is what bogs the system down, if you automated rolls and speed and actions then it could do a lot but, there is a ton of minutiae to it too which is where the system gets really crunchy.

    If I were to pick one system I'd probably go with Mayfair DC's, but, I'd want it to use actual points so there was actual balance.

    I've considered doing something like that myself. 450 point characters (standard starting character in the system) didn't require a background, as long as the points were good, go play. More powerful characters would require time commitments or backgrounds etc, jump through more hoops.

    Honestly though, Savage Worlds looks pretty good for a super hero system as well, but... if I were to do a brand new super hero game?

    I'd probably hack Fate, it just does really well in MU* format.

  • I vastly prefer DC Heroes approach to many actions (Super Speed, Multi-attack) to Champions Speed system.

    However, any system can be tuned towards what you want to see, and there are many many super hero options available. Many are just eh at it, while some definitely offer something good in one or more of the areas I listed.

  • FASERIP/Icons is so damned quick and easy, both in terms of making a character and resolution of tasks. Social stuff would be an easy hack. A persuasion skill vs Psyche or something, for example.

  • A lot of great points were made in this thread. Gave me a lot to think about. I'm still undecided but I've got a lot to chew on.

    If I just did what I wanted I'd probably go with a full on DC Heroes with points and all that but I think that would create a barrier too great for a lot of new players to get past. Tied with that would be Savage Worlds but I think there might be a pretty big barrier for new players there as well. I think I might also have trouble finding staff for these systems.

    Next would be Mutants and Masterminds. The advantage of that system is I have a character generation system and grid ready to go. I think the barrier of entry here is lower than the above but it's still a crunchy c-gen system that may be a little wonky in play.

    The front runner is FASERIP or a hack of that system. It's easy to pick up and support and I think the barrier of entry is about as minimal as you can get for players and potential staffers.

    Not that I'm 100% moving forward with an OC game but it is something I'm thinking about.

  • This adds to the frontloading of work to put up a place, but you can sort of set some power levels, whatever the system you use is, and have people start from those guidslines.

    As an example, I will use M&M-LIKE Power Levels. Not actual M&M but I think its the clearest.

    So lets say that human scale (fists, knives, pistols) is 1-5, and human Plus (cinematic but not supernatural martial arts and rifles and spears) is 6-10, and Strong tech is 11-15 (machine guns, APCs).

    Assuming that you can still swap values like M&M you can describe a given character type, and recommend a few set powers, and leave some things unbought, then allow customization after play.

    Apply that rough guidelines to the system of choice. I personally went with human normal tech weapons for my Superhero Game, using values from Guns Guns Guns, matched to how much actual damage I want to do to a PC with a given attack.

    From there I set scale for everything, how much defense, the idea of the value of special senses and abilities, and movement powers, etc etc.

    The core thing was to be able to ask a player "For someone like your character, are you midline, high or low for defense? Offense? For adaptability? Movement? Skill? Knowledge?" And I could then suggest how much that was from there.

    So for instance many Supers game don't care about wealth as long as you can't buy minions or super weapons, so the "scale" is adjusted downwards., making owning a successful small business not that big a deal.

  • @ZombieGenesis As someone who's played a bit of but not run Savage Worlds, what are the barriers for new players you're identifying with that system?

  • @fatefan Mostly lack of system familiarity and online resources. There are a ton of resources on the web players could access for most of the other systems, not quite as much for SW Supers. SW Supers does have a number of things going for it, however. First, my TT group has been able to emulate any and every kind of super hero using their 4 Color level. Second, we could have an approval free or minimized app process for the Pulp Hero level. Third, it's really not that complicated of a system...once you have it down. It took my group a session or two to fully be on board with it (mostly because of the playing card mechanic for initiative).

    Anyway, those are my thoughts regarding SW Supers.

  • In case anyone missed it, someone took the FASERIP system and modernized it a little. The new product is called G-Core and can be found on places like RPGNOW.com.

  • @Misadventure Ooooh, another FASERIP update/homage to look at. (Other than 4C and Icons.) Thanks for pointing it out!

  • As much as I like the One Roll Engine (Weird War One, et al.) for superhero games, in fact the only superhero RPG system I've read that made me interested in superhero games, the number of die type and player involvement in deciding which dice to roll and which ones to use.

    I did also like Mutant City Blues, but Gumshoe RPG is probably not great for casual role-play. Then again, you know when you engage it and when you don't.

    So I suppose a huge concern is which superhero genre you're aiming for. Maybe this has been answered but I missed it.

  • Pitcrew

    Looks like the author of the 'Wearing The Cape' e-book series put out a FATE Core sourcebook for his superhero universe. It's up on Drive-Thru RPG. Not a big fan of mixing Superheroes into FATE, but that just could be becasue I'm not really familiar with the intricacies of the system, such as they are.

  • Pitcrew

    @Runescryer OH RLY? I'll have to look that up

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